California Medical Association Officially Supports Legalization

Amid a new round of federal saber-rattling and setbacks for leading California dispensaries, here’s some good news: The 35,000 doctor-strong California Medical Association has joined the reality-based community in recommending the legalization and regulation of cannabis. The CMA is the largest physician group in California and the first statewide medical association to take the position. CMA’s president-elect James T Hay says it will be the first of many.

“CMA may be the first organization of its kind to take this position, but we won’t be the last. This was a carefully considered, deliberative decision made exclusively on medical and scientific grounds,” said Hay in a Sunday release. “As physicians, we need to have a better understanding about the benefits and risks of medicinal cannabis so that we can provide the best care possible to our patients.”

The federal government classifies pot among the most dangerous of all drugs, alongside heroin, when it is smoked in its plant form. However, pharmaceutical companies may sell the same active ingredients in pill form legally.

The CMA recommends regulating and taxing recreational cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco. In a related white paper (.pdf), the CMA also notes, the criminalization of cannabis has proven to be a failed public health policy for several reasons, including:

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