Medical Student Section of AMA Endorses Medical Marijuana

June 14, 2008

Chicago, IL -- The Medical Student Section (MSS) of the American Medical Association (AMA) approved a resolution yesterday urging the AMA to support the reclassification of marijuana for medical use. The AMA is currently holding its annual conference in Chicago and is making a number of policy decisions over the next few days. The MSS
will send the resolution to the AMA House of Delegates for a final vote at its interim meeting in November. With nearly 50,000 members, the MSS is the largest and most influential organization of medical students in the United States.

"While it is an historic occasion for any section of the AMA to endorse medical marijuana, the MSS is merely affirming existing science and urging the adoption of a sensible medical marijuana policy," said medical student and AMA-MSS member Sunil Aggarwal, who is leading the effort to seek AMA endorsement. "As a future medical doctor, I look forward to exploring and utilizing the many medical benefits of cannabinoid medicines in patient care."

Aggarwal is also supported by many of his colleagues in the AMA already in the field of medicine. "This is a positive and necessary step in the right direction," said Dr. David Ostrow, a member of the AMA and Chair of the Medical & Scientific Advisory Board of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country's largest medical marijuana advocacy organization. "We are hopeful that the full house of delegates will follow the example set by the American College of Physicians earlier this year and vote to support this resolution, thereby placing the needs and safety of our patients above politics."

The American College of Physicians (ACP) adopted a resolution in February, on which the AMA-MSS resolution is based. Like the AMA-MSS resolution, the ACP called for rescheduling of marijuana and an expansion of research into its medical efficacy. The ACP, at 124,000 members, is ranked as the country's second largest physician group and the largest organization of doctors of internal medicine.

Since 1996, twelve U.S. states have adopted medical marijuana laws, and in 2002 a Times/CNN poll showed that 80% of Americans support access to physician-recommended medical marijuana.

Further information:
AMA-MSS resolution:
http://safeaccessnow.org/downloads/MSS-AMA_Resolution.pdf (final version adopted today was amended to read, "RESOLVED, That our AMA support reclassification of marijuana's status as a Schedule I controlled substance into a more appropriate schedule.")
American College of Physicians resolution: http://www.acponline.org/advocacy/where_we_stand/other_issues/medmarijuana.pdf

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