It’s clearly not just old hippies and young, scruffy activists who want to legalize marijuana anymore—the medical community is getting on board now, too.
From what I’ve heard, attaining a medical marijuana card in the state of California isn’t terribly difficult. Certain clinics specialize in recognizing symptoms which may be relieved by a few hits from a potent, cleverly-named strand of ganja, and issuing prescriptions. And there are plenty of dispensaries which offer a rainbow of weeds with different effects as well as highly potent edibles.
The medical marijuana industry has, however, for the most part remained a fringe operation. And it likely will remain so as long as the plant is illegal to buy, grow, sell or possess under federal law.
That is part of what the trustees of the California Medical Association, which represents over 35,000 physicians, spoke about at their annual meeting in Anaheim Friday. According to an L.A. Times article, the group decided to change their position and come out in favor of legalizing marijuana.
“It’s an uncomfortable position for doctors,” Dr. Donald Lyman, the Sacramento physician who wrote the group’s new policy, told the L.A. Times. “It is an open question whether cannabis is useful or not. That question can only be answered once it is legalized and more research is done. Then, and only then, can we know what it is useful for.”
The group recognizes the health risks associated with smoking weed, but say that criminalization poses greater risks than weed itself. They also suggest the government regulates marijuana in the same way it does tobacco and booze.
Though many agree that legalizing, or at least decriminalizing, marijuana on a federal level would result in a range of societal benefits, we’re still far from convincing Washington to take the issue seriously. As the L.A. Times wrote, “The federal government views cannabis as a substance with no medical use, on a par with heroin and LSD.” And last July the Obama administration turned down a request from Americans for Safe Access to start proceedings to decide if Marijuana should be reclassified.
Though the road to legalizing marijuana may be a long one, help provided from organizations such as the California Medical Association will surely help.