Doctors Lighten Up on Marijuana Research
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Doctors Lighten Up on Marijuana Research
Posted by CN Staff on November 16, 2009 at 20:31:38 PT
Source: Daily Breeze
USA -- Amid the murky contradictions surrounding medical marijuana comes a dose of clear thinking from the nation's doctors. They say it's time for the feds to rethink the issue. The doctors are right. While California and 11 other states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes, the feds have stuck to the discredited position that marijuana is too dangerous to be of legitimate use.
That rigid stance has been relaxed a little by President Barack Obama, who has ordered drug enforcement officials not to pursue purveyors or users of marijuana as a medicine in states where this is legal. American Medical Association delegates last week relaxed their own rigid posture and voted to urge the federal government to reconsider its classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug. That's not the same as endorsing the medical use of the drug, but it's a sign the AMA at least wants to make it easier to do research on it, a logical and even imperative allowance if the drug is going to be legal for medical use anywhere in the country. Until recently, shops that dispense marijuana and patients who buy it were in the bizarre position of making transactions that were legal according to the state and illegal according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Now the enforcement issue has become a local one throughout Los Angeles County. (This week, the city of Los Angeles itself is scheduled to discuss proposed medical marijuana ordinances, one of which would ban over-the-counter sales and thus force most of the 1,000 medical marijuana dispensaries across the area to shut down.) In reversing the AMA's position, delegates went out of their way to say they were not endorsing medical cannabis programs, the legalization of marijuana or implying that current scientific evidence on medical use of the drug is adequate. They rejected an amendment that would have described smoking as an unsafe way to ingest marijuana (though obviously it can be). This wasn't the AMA's only foray into controversy. Delegates also voted at their policymaking meeting in Houston to oppose the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, as well as bans on gay marriage. Both, they said, contribute to disparities in health care. If that seems like a reach, the AMA says the military's policy has a chilling effect on open communication between gays and their doctors, and marriage makes it more likely for couples to have the benefits of medical insurance. The Obama administration already is working on the military issue, and on health care. Voters get to decide on the legal definition of marriage. As for marijuana as a medication, voters already have made their decision in California and elsewhere. The feds should honor that decision, and the AMA is correct to push for the right to do meaningful research on the medical benefits of cannabis.Source: Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA)Published: November 16, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Copley Press Inc.Contact: letters dailybreeze.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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