California's Largest Physician Group Calls for Full Legalization

Despite the recent attempts by the ATF, IRS, and four California-based US Attorneys to put a damper on the state’s medical marijuana program, the California Medical Association formally endorsed a new policy calling for the full legalization of cannabis.
The CMA represents more than 35,000 physicians statewide and is the largest industry group for doctors in the state. Last Friday, at the association’s annual meeting in Anaheim, they made official their support for the full legalization of marijuana. The group cited racial inequalities in arrests, the collateral damage to families of those incarcerated on simple marijuana charges, and growing prison costs as signs that marijuana prohibition has “proven to be a failed public health policy.”
This stance seems to have been prompted by the precarious position California doctors find themselves in under the state’s current medical law. This position forces a physician to decide whether or not to recommend a substance to a patient that is still illegal at the federal level. While their stance on the medical benefits was lukewarm to say the least (the group compared cannabis to a “folk remedy”) the CMA sees legalization for all adults as the only way to truly discover the potential medical application of cannabis and cannabinoids.
“It’s an uncomfortable position for doctors,” stated Dr. Donald Lyman, a physician from Sacramento who helped author the new policy, “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.”
You can read more in-depth coverage on this issue from LA weekly here.
The full paper published on the topic by the California Medical Association can be viewed here (PDF).
Post updated to correct “Attorney Generals” [sic] to “US Attorneys”

51 thoughts

  1. Its about fucking time.
    DAMN it is finally good to see some sense in the discussion of this topic.
    The medical elite, and not fringe oddballs –
    “more than 35,000 physicians statewide”
    “…made official their support for the full legalization of marijuana. The group cited racial inequalities in arrests, the collateral damage to families of those incarcerated on simple marijuana charges, and growing prison costs as signs that marijuana prohibition has “proven to be a failed public health policy.”

  2. Daps to the Docs!!
    As strong as the push has become for full legalization, it just got a very significant reinforcement! MDs, being one of the most highly respected professions around, have just given their highly educated Middle Finger to our Federal govt, and the UN.
    As a healthcare professional myself, I can speak to the considerable courage that it takes to openly endorse something still considered taboo in most professional circles.
    I Throw My Middle Finger Up to the Government With Them!!

  3. The problem with Marijuana legalization is everyone that smokes is a pushover. Everyone is trying to go the legitimate route through the courts and appeals and petitions. It is not going to work. Look at all the attention the occupy wall street movement has gotten. Spread throughout the country, on news stations in every city. People that care about legalizing marijuana need to mobilize off the internet and spread the word in the cities. Bring attention to the general public of the atrocities of the government that are blocking marijuana reform. I guarantee that if five to ten thousand people start peacefully protesting in the top ten metropolitan areas in the US, not only will it bring attention to the prejudice of the US government on this topic, but also inform a much larger portion of the people through media outlets covering such a demonstration. The people do have the power in America, but it is not in the courtrooms, it is through their voice and their numbers. By that I don’t mean a number of names on a paper…Organize and demonstrate. People have done this in the past and it has a proven track record of bringing attention to the topic. Be HEARD!

  4. Holy Smokes. This is great news to the choir. What we need is Washington to wake up and move on. The federal prohibition of marijuana is a lost battle. 30 Million Americans have inhaled the smoke of a dry flower ember over the last year. Time to listen to what the medical community is saying and respecting their recommendations. Du Pont is a stooge. He will say anything just like Ainslinger. Blessings to everyone regardless of your faith or belief. Go in peace.

  5. See if you can get those fuckers from the U.N. to attend this conference in November, and get them to clear the way for legalization. Doctors talking to international doctors. Law enforcement talking to international law enforcement. Are the previous heads of state of Latin American countries who have called for legalization once they were out of office going to attend to put on the pressure to clear the way for the U.S. and any other country (NL, Jamaica) to legalize?

  6. Make your voice heard.
    I just submitted this to the OPINION section of my local paper:

    -should LEGALIZED and regulated as wine is:
    age requirement to consume, and illegal to drive while affected
    -prohibition has caused many of the same issues which the American people avoided when we repealed the prohibition of alcohol.
    the ‘drug war’ has yielded no reduction in the trafficking/availability/use of marijuana
    has funneled ALL the revenue into the hands of the cartels in Mexico where the REAL DRUG WARS take place
    has hampered this nation’s financial recovery as it is well documented that cannibus is California’s number one cash crop.
    Mexico is in a civil war due to the cartels being so well financed by the illicit marijuana trade.
    The Tommy-gunners of the early part of this century all but went away over night upon the repealing of the prohibition of alcohol.
    And, here is this as well, from the California Medical Association,
    representing more than 35,000 physicians statewide and is the largest industry group for doctors in the state:
    Policy Recommendation includes:
    – Regulate recreational cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco.
    – Tax cannabis
    – Facilitate dissemination of risks and benefits of cannabis use.
    Its time for SERIOUS and LOGICAL discussion on cannibus,
    and not biased uninformed concepts and laws propagated by nonsense like this:

  7. The debate as to the legalization of marijuana should be based upon its own merits.
    The likelihood of it becoming more commonly used due to legalization would imply that prohibition has impacted its use… That argument does not hold water.
    The concerns about how it affects driving, while logical and valid, should only affect THE REGULATIONS OF IT, same as with alcohol. It should not remain illegal simply because people fear its effect on driving.
    An adult man or woman at their own place, relaxing with a glass of wine, or a joint, and NOT about to go driving should be legal.
    It is time for serious discussion on legalization, all the money that could be made on it is funneled into the hands of the cartels in Mexico, where the REAL DRUG WAR zone is.
    It is time for logical and rational discussion, and not propaganda like this:

  8. I included an additional letter I submitted.
    COPY and PASTE
    submit to your area news.

  9. 1. The four are “US Attorneys” – federal prosecutors – for federal court districts in California, not “California Attorney Generals”
    2. The plural of “Attorney General” is “Attorneys General”

  10. There is a simple way to legalize cannabis. Just enact a simple definition of marijuana. The 99% should sign this petition to demand a simple definition of marijuana which actually shows respect for our Constitution. Only 5000 signatures needed to gain official review. Time is running out.

  11. Jesus said to do unto others as we would have them to do unto us. None of us would want our child thrown in jail with the sexual predators over marijuana. None of us would want to see an older family member’s home confiscated and sold by the police for growing a couple of marijuana plants for their aches and pains. It’s time to stop putting our own family members in jail over marijuana.
    If ordinary Americans could grow a little marijuana in their own back yards, it would be about as valuable as home-grown tomatoes. Let’s put the criminals out of business and get them out of our neighborhoods. Let’s let ordinary Americans grow a little marijuana in their own back yards.
    Here’s one way that IT IS REALLY WORKING: Arresting the criminals and collecting a fee from registered growers (and bringing in thousands of dollars to support the county budget); what a great plan! This is the way to build a better America!
    The current proposal before Congress, bill HR 2306, will allow states to decide how they will regulate marijuana. You can email your Congressperson and Senators at to discuss HR 2306.
    And a big THANK YOU to the courageous, freedom loving legislators, governors, and countless others who are working so hard to bring this through! You’re doing a great patriotic service for all of America!

  12. Occupy Lamar! 3 opportunities to meet and greet the Congressman (Lamar Smith, R-TX) currently stoppering H.R.2306 in his capacity as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
    Wednesday, October 19th
    10 a.m.: Kerrville Public Meeting
    Location: Kathleen C. Cailloux Theater – 910 Main Street, Kerrville TX
    3 p.m.: Bandera Public Meeting
    Location: Bandera Justice Center, 3360 State Highway 173 North, Bandera, TX
    Thursday, October 20th
    9 a.m: New Braunfels Public Meeting
    Location: McKenna Events Center, 801 West San Antonio, New Braunfels, TX
    (copy block from the Congressman’s House home page, 10-17-11)

  13. The folk remedy aspect of the story was not really correctly reported by the LA Times. The comparison of marijuana to a folk remedy was not meant to suggest that it has no real applications, it was intended to put forth the idea that regulating marijuana as a big pharma drug is not appropriate and that it should be considered more of an herbal remedy like echinacea or golden seal and marketed as such with age restrictions as with alcohol and tobacco. The CMA also bemoaned the inability to find specific applications and doses due to the Schedule 1 designation and said that legalization would correct this.

  14. I applaud the courageous doctors of California for standing in favor of cannabis. Now we need doctors in all other states to back them up.

  15. Let me explain how the California Medical Association (CMA) came up with its policy to legalize marijuana. In 2009, as a delegate to the CMA I authored a resolution for the CMA to support legalization of marijuana. The CMA concluded the “prohibition of marijuana isa a failed public health policy.” Once the CMA declared it a failed policy we as physician who like to fix things had an obligation to develop a different approach. In 2010 i had a similar resolution asking the CMA to support legalization of marijuana. My resolution was amended to set up a task force to recommend policy on marijuana legalization. I had the opportunity to sit on the task force. The policy also calls for the CMA to work with the state medial association in the 15 other states that have legal medicinal marijuana to appeal to the Obama administration to either de-schedule or reschedule marijuana.
    As Dr.Hay, the president of the CMA said: The CMA may be the first medical society to endorse legalization of marijuana it will not be the last.
    There is more good news on the way. By the end of October the California Society of Addiction Medicine will lso endorse legalization of marijuana.
    [Paul Armentano responds: Well deserved Kudos go out to Dr. Bedard, who is doing excellent work behind the scenes in California and elsewhere. Hopefully, some of the visitors to this page had the opportunity to hear Dr. Bedard speak at last year’s national NORML Conference.]

  16. It doesn`t matter why people want marijuana illegal anymore. All that matters is to use some common sense. The facts about alcohol and marijuana are out there for all to see. But the ONLY way the idiots against legalizing marijuana will see the light is to level the playing field. Do a study on anti-pot people. What percentage of those people have alcoholic beverages in there home? What percentage of those have children in the home? I don`t hear any of them trying to elliminate being drunk around babies,do you?
    We have lived in prohibition of marijuana our entire lives. Let the drunken hypocrites remember that once alcohol was illegal. And 100`s of police officers were murdered by alcoholics. I don`t give a fuck about any drunk. And anyone who gets drunk around children, and are for illegal marijuana, can lick me where I poop.
    The United States government is controlled by rich, drunk, hypocrites. Greed is the reason why marijuana will NEVER be legalized. But take away their alcohol, and thedrunken hypocrites will show their true face.

  17. And for those who want a Biblical Reference:
    Genesis 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food:

  18. How is it that a woman can legally abort her baby, but in some cases can be arrested and imprisoned if found to test positive for pot or drugs after labor? Especially since there is little to no overdose threshold in humans, as well as the emerging research that supports the notion cannabinoids (e.g. “THC”) are critical in the development of the womb.

  19. Ron Paul has stood his ground for 30 years. Vote yes for Dr. No!!!! The repubs just want to put another black man up to run, so they can compare members…don’t buy it; Ron Paul is the right choice, let’s give the Dr. a shot this time.
    That’s not meant to be a racial joke either, I thinks it’s true, it worked for Dems in Oboma’s favor, that’s the only reason Cain is on the Card… Please help in calling “Bull Shit”
    If we truly want it legal, then let’s help put our “bowl” where our mouth is; Help keep Ron Paul alive.
    If he does a terrible job, then vote him out too!!!
    But we have to start somewhere. The rest of them, with the exception of Johnson, are either against it, or they are lying; please help

  20. #25. I’m a Ron Paul fan, but he was absolutely comatose last night in Nevada. I’m starting to have serious doubts he will be running at all.

  21. It seems all medical organizations support medical marijuana, including all Gov Studies, along with 90% plus Americans from coast to coast, and Countries like Israel, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, ect. Even DEA Fed Admin Judges like Francis Young, along with the Fed Gov Patent #6630507 support it. The Fed Gov even grows it on many farms, and sells it to Big-Pharma Corporations where they turn it into synthetic forms like Marinol which in turn offer those connected with mucho, and even more mucho profits. Could it be that dishonest,and corrupt top officials from GOV AGENCIES LIKE THE DEA are just protecting those PROFITS by unconstitutionally penalizing those States, and their citizens that passed Medical Marijuana Legislation, because if medical marijuana was put on trial the chains that hold the scales of justice would fall off on the side of medical marijuana’s innocence.

  22. Now lets pray that the D.E.A don’t start arresting this Doctors For supporting cannabis. We seen it done be for yall

  23. My dad, a patient with severe fibromyalgia, has to suffer every day laying in bed feeling worthless, full of sharp pain, and demotivated, addicted to expensive drugs the doctors give him to “help” him just because a bunch of dumbfucks in D.C can’t take the time to listen to one fucking open-minded idea.
    I’ve gotten to the point where I’m ready to load up every gun in my house and go to fight these corporate bullies and greedy congressmen myself, and I’m surprised not too many other people haven’t reached this point either.
    Keep fighting the good fight, NORML.

  24. Spread the word,
    copy and paste this into business/economy discussions where people that are looking for answers (but unlikely readers of are likely to be:
    Spread the word, please
    now is the time…
    I don’t want to spend any more time in trouble with the law for something they have no logical business bothering me for.

    They should consider the revenue of undoing cannabis prohibition:
    ~50% of the visible public are for it, in spite of its vilification and stigmas
    the largest organization of doctors (35,000) in California wrote this about it:
    take a few minutes, hit the link and scroll down and watch the few minute clip
    read about it, and comment, here:

  25. As a sufferer of Chronic Myofascial Pain I have done the opiate and pill route with terrible results, however the best medicine for me is cannabis with the only side effects, arrest and incarceration.
    The law is on the side of pain and suffereing and big corporations not the rights of the individual who claims neccesity is law. My medicine from a divine source is now made my pharmakon by this beureacratic nightmare called government.

  26. Pot use up Duh drunk driving fatalities down
    Feds Crack down on Marijuana …. spice & K2 use up
    No Med use say feds …. Patent for Savetex
    This just gets so old ..
    Everybody just show up at your local fed courthouse with a joint fire it up and just laugh in there faces get busted and demand a jury trial
    look up jury nullification and decided for yourself

  27. I am sure the D.E.A / N.I.D.A and all the other gov agency are Busy trying to MAKE the (C-M-A) Chang the position on cannabis

  28. The Proper Method To Regulate Marijuana
    The proper regulation of marijuana starts with the Importer/Wholesaler. The Importer/Wholesaler would be a licensed importer from international farmers and domestic farmers with absolutely no taxes, tariffs or any other charge on the farmer. This way the drug cartels are cut out of the picture financially and not legislatively; the legislation has never worked in the history of marijuana and continues to not only fail to this day but also financially fund the drug cartels as well. That won’t happen if the farmer has a legal way to sell his product at a proper price driven by market forces between the different licensed Importer/Wholesaler’s across the US. The first requirement to even get the privilege of paying the licensing fee to become an Importer/Wholesaler is to first become a Non-Profit Organization, or NPO. All licensed Importer/Wholesaler’s will be NPO’s. This way there will be plenty of financial room for the $50 per ounce tax that the retailer pays upon buying from the Importer/Wholesaler.
    The Retailer has to buy a license also, but the only real qualification is the storage place of the marijuana, including amount of area for amount of marijuana; the fees could be structured to reflect area of storage per year, or something along those lines. Other than that, there would be no other qualification for the retailer. Once the taxes of $50 per ounce is paid at the Importer/Wholesaler NPO, the retailer would be free to do whatever he wanted to do with it knowing that the storage facility has to be maintained.
    The user, whether recreational or medicinal, has to purchase from a licensed retailer. It could be tightened to only licensed medicinal users, but it appears in the long run to be futile at best.
    The end results include the drug cartels getting upset at first, but eventually running out of money. The people in the cartels slowly and insidiously over time walk away to do more profitable things, such as growing marijuana, selling marijuana, or processing some sort of product made form cannabis in general, whether that’s the female plant or the male; there should be a general resurgence over a relatively short period of time. Peace should return to our Mexican border eventually and our unemployment rate should begin to drop.

  29. It’s called medical SCIENCE for a reason. Kudos to the doctors involved.

  30. If you belive that its still illegal for no other reason than some senetor, congressmen or thier buddy isnt filling his or her pockets with profits from it your crazy. America FOR SALE,To the highest bidder!!!!

  31. This is an endless subject….
    There are so many ways to convence ourselves that one way is better than the next,,,,but truth is….legalizing cannabis is just not on the agenda for our government. local or fed…They dont want to be bothered with the facts or the truths about what they allow as legal or illegal. Its all about percents and and how things became the way that they are……The fact is they are this way and It is going to take a whole lot of change for cannabis to take a spot on board with wine and tabbaco and such……It kills me how people say oooo this new medical grade is way more than the stuff your father had…..I mean really///// my father had this to? point im making is the only difference between medical cannabis and home grown is a state line….And yep you guessed it even the states that do not have a medical cannabis program started yet…..They also have the medical grade cannabis …….its not that its out of control…..its just that even tho its not legal by government standards the people them selves have and will continue to regulate cannabis all over the usa by there own means and for there own means…..The government thinks it stands to loose out on its share of money by allowing something to be legal that they have made so much crime money off of.
    for pain.
    for realaxing
    for what ever you want to lable your useage , should not be controled by the laws of the government unless there has been proof that its dangours to human life.
    O wait never mind that went out with perscription pills and alchol……
    good luck to all who try to help with this but the only way is when those how were brain washed with the reffer madness are dead and gone will the usa have a fighting chance to take back what was stolen from us by greedy one sided people …….life is short.. pain is forever and cannabis will be here long after the oil runs dry.

  32. I watched my father die of alcoholism and I was also an alcoholic until I got off the booze 13 years and did it with the help of marijuana. I lost my cravings for alcohol immediately with marijuana. I couldnt be happier after kicking alcohol. Legalization of marijuana is a no brainer to me and I totally agree with the California Medical Society for full legalization.

  33. The real problem with this,Gready drug and alcohol makers will lose major bucks with people gettin off from a long days work and insted of crackin the cork on a bottle of scotch or poppin a pain pill they will just spark it up an puff the majic dragon!

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