Sacramento, CA: The American College of Physicians (ACP), the nation’s largest organization of doctors of internal medicine and the second largest medical association in the country, called for easing the federal prohibition of marijuana in a position paper released Friday, February 15.
The ACP asked the federal government to review the inclusion of marijuana as a Schedule I drug, a classification it shares with drugs such as heroin and LSD. Schedule I substances are declared to have no medical use and a high potential for abuse by the federal government. Since its inclusion as a Schedule I drug in 1970, the scheduling of cannabis has been constantly challenged.
The conflict between federal law and the twelve states where medical cannabis statutes have been enacted have made many doctors avoid recommending medical cannabis as a treatment. Dr. David Dale, president of the ACP, said that contributed to the ACP’s action: “We felt the time had come to speak up about this. …We’d like to clear up the uncertainty and anxiety of patients and physicians over this drug.”
Officials at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy panned the ACP’s move. “What this would do is drag us back to 14th century medicine,” said Bertha Madras, the ONDCP deputy director for demand reduction.
“With the ACP now supporting rescheduling, the ONDCP can no longer claim that medical cannabis is not supported by science or the practitioners of modern medicine,” NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said in response.
With this action, the ACP joins the American Nurses Association, the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and many other medical associations calling for cannabis to be made a legal medicine.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Full text of the ACP policy papers is available in PDF format at: http://www.acponline.org/advocacy/where_we_stand/other_issues/medmarijuana.pdf