Chronic City: It's Obvious -- State Medical Association Says Pot Prohibition Is 'Failed Public Health Policy'

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The November Coalition
Drug War protester at Huntington Beach, Calif.
​In a laudable nod to the obvious, members of the California Medical Association's (CMA) House of Delegates have endorsed a resolution stating that the criminal prohibition of Marijuana is a "failed public health policy."

As enacted, Resolution 704a-09, the "Criminalization of Marijuana" states: "[The] CMA considers the criminalization of Marijuana to be a failed public health policy, ... and encourage[s] ... debate and education regarding the health aspects of changing current policy regarding cannabis use." [PDF] The CMA has more than 35,000 members statewide.

report just published in the British Columbia Mental Health and Addictions Journal highlights another good reason to question Marijuana prohibition: Health-related "social costs" per user are eight times higher for alcohol users than for those who use Marijuana, and more than 40 times higher for tobacco smokers.

The report gauges related costs per user at more than $800 yearly for tobacco; $165 for alcohol; and only $20 for cannabis.

The newly adopted CMA resolution coincides with the scheduling of legislative hearings regarding Assembly Bill 390, the Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act, which seeks to tax and regulate the commercial production and retail sale of cannabis to those age 21 or older. The California Assembly Committee on Public Safety is anticipated to vote on AB 390 by late January.

The CMA's resolution comes on the heels of last week's resolution from the American Medical Association (AMA) that "Marijuana'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."

This was a significant reversal, since the AMA had previously called for cannabis to be "retained in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act," a legal classification that defines the substance and its natural compounds as possessing "no currently accepted use in treatment in the United States."
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