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Marijuana Legalization on National Level Urged by State's Largest Doctor's Group, the California Medical Association

California's largest physicians' group over the weekend urged the federal government to legalize marijuana. It claims to be the first such statewide doctors' organization in the nation to do so.

Interestingly, the California Medical Association says the main reason for legalizing it would be research it so doctors in California can figure out what the heck they're prescribing "recommending."

Dosage and treatments are a mystery, so recommendation in the Golden State is pretty much open-ended. James T. Hay, CMA's president-elect:

As physicians, we need to have a better understanding about the benefits and risks of medicinal cannabis so that we can provide the best care possible to our patients.

California legalized medical pot in 1996 and subsequently put forth broad guidelines for doctors' recommendations that don't include dosage.

The U.S. sees cannabis as a schedule 1 outlaw with know known medical benefits.

The CMA says that in order for us to get to the bottom of its possible medical benefits, we need to legalize it and research it. It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation though: Feds say it's no good; California doctors say it could be, but that the feds need to believe in its potential goodness in order to let them prove it.

Paul Phinney, CMA Board Chair:

There simply isn't the scientific evidence to understand the benefits and risks of medical cannabis ... In order for the proper studies to be done, we need to advocate for the legalization and regulation.

The group took its stance during its conference Sunday in Sacramento and under the shadow of a new crackdown by federal authorities who have in no uncertain terms that California's medical marijuana dispensaries are illegal and need to shut down.

We're not sure a pronouncement by the doctors is going to stop the DEA cavalry from coming to town. But the docs are staying brave.

As incoming CMA president Hay says, federal law ...

... puts physicians in an incredibly difficult legal position, since we're the ones ultimately recommending the drug.

[@dennisjromero/djromero@laweekly.com]


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