National Harbor, MD: The House of Delegates of the American Medical Association voted Tuesday to retain an official position that "cannabis is a dangerous drug and as such is a public health concern," while at the same time adopting language appearing to acknowledge the changing attitudes toward marijuana among the American public.
Since 1977, the AMA has been on record urging the "modification of state law to reduce the severity of penalties for possession of marijuana." That language has now been replaced by a call for the states and the federal government to modify laws "to emphasize public health based strategies to address and reduce cannabis use"; and for the offense of possession of marijuana for personal use, they adopted new language calling for "public health based strategies, rather than incarceration."
Perhaps most promising, the Delegates determined current federal anti-marijuana policies are "ineffective" and called for a review of the "risks and benefits" of the new legalization laws adopted by the voters in Colorado and Washington.
The delegation from California had proposed amending AMA policy to reflect a "neutral stance toward cannabis legalization," but that proposal was defeated, along with a second California proposal to advocate for the "sale of cannabis to be regulated on a state-based level."
Regarding the medical use of marijuana, the group reaffirmed its position that marijuana research be expedited, and that the drug’s "status as a federal schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and alternate delivery methods." However, they also left in place language making it clear their support for additional research "not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based medical cannabis programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a prescription drug product."
These recommendations of the AMA House of Delegates must be ratified at the next biannual meeting before becoming final.
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