A timely endorsement of the legalization of marijuana was made Saturday, by the largest doctors’ group in California. This announcement comes shortly after the federal government’s sudden decision to force all marijuana dispensaries to close their doors, giving them only until December to do so.
More than 35,000Â physicians, including the numerousÂ marijuana doctors in California,Â are members of the California Medical Association, the first medical organization to endorse legalization of cannabis. On Friday October 14th, trustees came to the agreement to urge the government to declassify the drug.
The doctors’ main interests, it would seem, lie in the research potential of the drug. Dr. Igor Grant, professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego speaks optimistically about the potential of cannabis:
“There’s good evidence that it has medicinal value. Can you say it’s 100% bulletproof? No. But the research we’ve done at the center shows it’s helpful with certain types of pain.” And aside from pain, research has been done displaying anti-cancer properties, as well as nausea prevention, glaucoma treatment, anti-depressant potential, diabetes, bacterial infections and the list of conditions helped by marijuana goes on.
Another leading physician supporting the cause is Dr. Donald Lyman, the Sacramento-based author of the proposition. He acknowledges that “it’s an uncomfortable position for doctors,” but insists the existing system has “proven to be a failed public health policy.”
He states, “it is an open question whether cannabis is useful or not. That question can only be answered once it is legalized and more research is done. Then, and only then, can we know what it is useful for.” Recent successes include sequencing the DNA of marijuana, and that’s even while it remains an illicit venture in most of the world. One can only wonder what amount of progress could be had with unregulated, unrestrained exploration into the field.
As with any progress, there lie stubborn mules of dissent, each looking to interrupt headway of a concept that inexplicably frightens them. The California Police Chiefs Association is one of such speed bumps, and (lacking any legitimate concerns) make fallacious arguments against legal weed.
Spokesman John Lovell declares, “I wonder what they’re smoking. Given everything that we know about the physiological impacts of marijuana â€“ how it affects young brains, the number of accidents associated with driving under the influence â€“ it’s just an unbelievably irresponsible position.”
Needless to say, Mr. Lovell’s comments are as ignorant as they are hypocritical. For a man concerned with the affect on young people, regulation is the absolute best avenue to choose. Children and teens have a much more difficult time acquiring alcohol and cigarettes than they do illicit drugs like marijuana. Not to mention the overall absurdity of law enforcement agents claiming to know more about the effects of marijuana than actual doctors.
Driving under the influence of cannabis has been proven to be a negligible obstacle for users. A short period of mild impairment is at the high end of the scale, and tested users many have performed equivalent to their sober attempts.
The federal government’s current classification of marijuana declares it as a substance with no medicinal value, and high danger to society. It is classified in the same vein as heroin, and is regulated more strictly than cocaine and methamphetamine, three of the most dangerous drugs in existence.
It is high time that the federal government reconsidered its archaic stance on cannabis. There are endless gains awaiting legalization, and horrific consequences following continued prohibition. Politicians and police need to put their personal convictions aside, and realize that a doctor’s word on public health and safety should ring louder than anyone else’s.
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