AMA Urges Feds To Reclassify Marijuana
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AMA Urges Feds To Reclassify Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on November 15, 2009 at 05:45:17 PT
By Thadeus Greenson, The Times-Standard
Source: Times-Standard
USA -- The nation's largest doctors group took a step toward supporting medical marijuana last week, urging the federal government to review marijuana's status as a controlled substance in order to facilitate more medical research on the drug. ”This has, I think, profound implications,” said Greg Allen, a local attorney and longtime medical marijuana advocate. 
Currently, marijuana remains classified federally as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, in the same category as heroin, ecstasy and LSD. That status makes it very difficult to conduct legal medical testing on the drug in the United States, as it can only be done with a permit from the federal government, which has historically been loathe to give them out. Reducing marijuana's federal classification even just to Schedule 2 -- the same class as cocaine, methadone, oxycodone and morphine -- would allow for more testing on the medical effects of marijuana, medical proponents argue. At a semi-annual policy meeting held last week, the American Medical Association voted to adopt a resolution urging that marijuana's status as a federal Schedule 1 controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of conducting more clinical research and developing cannabinoid-based medications. The resolution clearly states that it in no way is endorsing state-based medical marijuana programs, the legalization of marijuana or that it should be seen as a statement that scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a prescription drug. However, the resolution marks a large policy change for the AMA, which has treated medical marijuana with much caution in the past, reportedly even voting down a similar resolution eight years ago. In a statement, Dr. Edward Langston, an AMA board member, said the resolution is entirely designed to facilitate more research. ”Despite more than 30 years of clinical research, only a small number of randomized, controlled trials have been conducted on smoked cannabis,” Langston said. “Federal drug approval is achieved after appropriate scientific and regulatory review to establish safety and efficacy. The limited nature of rigorous scientific studies on the therapeutic use of cannabis is insufficient to satisfy the current standards for a prescription drug product.” A big reason for the lack of rigorous scientific studies is marijuana's longstanding status as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, Allen said. ”When it comes to research and technology, I think the United States is one of the forefront nations, and for us to not be involved (in this research) is just ridiculous,” Allen said. “The U.S. would be a major player in any sort of research. Yet, we've been basically out of this for 30-some-odd years.” Even some longstanding critics of medical marijuana are at ease with the AMA's decision. ”I have not a concern about it,” said Roger Morgan, a co-founder of Californians for Drug-free Schools. “Obviously, it's a change in direction for them. But, I think if they conduct more studies they will end up with the same answer they've had before: That smoked, crude marijuana is not medicine.” Mason said the studies also have the potential to do some real good, if researchers are able to find a way to extract some of the compounds in marijuana that have medical properties to be administered to patients in another form. ”If they can offer pills and suppositories that can still provide relief, that's a home run,” he said. But, really, Mason said he doesn't expect to see any changes, no matter how much the drug is studied. ”I don't think new study will provide any new answers,” he said. “I think it's properly classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance now.” Eureka attorney Neal Sanders, who specializes in medical marijuana cases, said even a reclassification of marijuana to a Schedule 2 substance probably wouldn't have much of a impact on criminal cases in California. Still, Sanders said the AMA vote is big news, especially when considered with other developments, like Attorney General Erick Holder's recent announcement that federal authorities would no longer prosecute users and dispensaries in states that allow medical marijuana. ”I think the big import for California is it tends to show that a mainstream medical group has made a determination that marijuana needs to be looked at as a valid medicine, and that the feds should get on board and allow studies to go forward that would either verify that or not,” Sanders said. “It's showing that the powers that be -- the American Medical Association, doctors and the Attorney General's Office -- are all recognizing that marijuana needs to be looked at and considered a bit differently than other drugs.” While Allen said the AMA's resolution could have profound impacts, he cautioned against thinking it represents a sea change on the issue or a magic bullet toward decriminalization. The fact is, Allen said, marijuana has a very strong and entrenched opposition. ”Law enforcement views (marijuana), and will always view it, as a jobs issue,” Allen said. “And, really, I think that's a significant part of the organized opposition. That opposition will continue to do anything to keep it from becoming legal or decriminalized.” Allen said true medical research and clinical studies, done outside of government hands, might help move both the medical marijuana and the legalization movement farther down the road. Reclassifying marijuana as something other than a Schedule 1 controlled substance, Allen said, is a key step. ”It's basically a war and not a battle, and it appears it is going to go on for a while,” he said. Source: Times-Standard (Eureka, CA)Author: Thadeus Greenson, The Times-StandardPublished: November 15, 2009Copyright: 2009 MediaNews Group, Inc. Contact: editor times-standard.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #6 posted by ekim on November 15, 2009 at 17:45:49 PT
The True Issue -- part 2
November 15th, 2009 at 3:49 am 
His Ass is GrassleyLet’s Have a Rational Debate on Drug Policy, Sen. Grassley
US IA: OPED: Des Moines Register 14 Nov 2009
Marni Steadham Represents University Of Iowa Students For Sensible Drug Policy.“The point is, for them to do what we tell them to do.”
Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley“Every day, I meet with Iowa workers and small business owners who can’t pay the mortgage or their insurance premiums while Mr. Grassley has been paid a federal salary of over $4,000,000.00 and collected millions more in campaign contributions from insurance, pharmaceutical and Wall Street fat cats. He has been one of the insiders in Washington so long that he can’t hear the voices of the thousands of Iowans who have lost their jobs.”
Democratic Senate candidate Tom FiegenGrassley’s Next Election Year: 2010Grassley slams Justice Department’s medical marijuana decision
By Jason Hancock 10/21/09
The decision this week by the U.S. Justice Department not to prosecute people using, prescribing or distributing marijuana in states where it is legal is a step towards legitimizing drug use, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley said.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on November 15, 2009 at 15:46:52 PT
Thank you. I didn't understand who Mason was. 
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Comment #4 posted by Mark702 on November 15, 2009 at 14:26:32 PT
I think "Mason" is supposed to be Roger Morgan.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on November 15, 2009 at 12:02:22 PT
I don't know who Mason is either.
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Comment #2 posted by observer on November 15, 2009 at 11:01:44 PT
"Mason said the studies also...""But, really, Mason said ..."Who is "Mason" here? I'm confused. 
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Comment #1 posted by ezrydn on November 15, 2009 at 06:59:15 PT
The True Issue
While we've been told, over and over and over ad nausium, it's about "health," the true issue is stated in this article: It's a JOBS issue. Rather than build jobs on safe, health-wise subjects, the government has opted to view it as a JOBS subject. Jobs that exist solely to "control" the public. Health and safety be dammed! That's their cry today. Their audience is finally awakening and are refusing to take their tripe at face value any longer. Parents are tired of seeing their kids carted off to jail for no real reason. As the various elections roll around, it behooves us to start "packing" Congress with our own people. Remmber, 2010 will be an election where we can start to "Toke The Vote!" Do your homework!
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