(Meanwhile) California Medical Association Backs Medical Marijuana Research Bill

California’s largest medical association announced its support for a proposed bill to establish a $6 million, three-year research program at the University of California to study the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana.

The goal of Senate Bill 535, sponsored by Sen. John Vasconcellos (D-Santa Clara) is to determine a “safe and affordable” way to distribute marijuana to doctors and patients whose physicians approve it. Backers of the bill hope that the support of the California Medical Association (CMA) will improve the measure’s chances of passing through the state legislature and winning the approval of Gov. Pete Wilson.

“I welcome the CMA’s support,” said Vasconcellos, noting that the association presently represents more than 38,000 physicians in the state. “CMA has long recognized the need for legitimate comprehensive clinical research on the medical efficacy of medicinal marijuana. [Their support] is a testament to our focus on rigorous scientific research in S.B. 535.”

Both the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and the Public Safety Committee have already approved S.B. 535. The measure now stands before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

A spokesman for Gov. Wilson told the Los Angeles Times that it remains doubtful the governor will be persuaded to support the Vasconcellos measure, even with the endorsement from the CMA. The governor has twice in recent years vetoed legislation that would permit the medical use of marijuana.

For more information, please contact either Dave Fratello of Americans for Medical Rights at (310) 394-2952 or the office of Sen. John Vasconcellos at (916) 445-9740.