Background: As the national debate heightens around the legalization of cannabis (or marijuana) for recreational use, policy makers, the media, as well as ASA members and affiliates have called on ASA to take a position on these issues. ASA was founded to focus only on medical cannabis issues. Recreational use and medical use only have the criminal justice system in common.

Findings: Issues such as access, police harassment, and the price and quality of medicine will still be relevant to the patient community despite the adoption of a policy of legalization for recreational. The federal refusal to recognize the medical efficacy of cannabis causes more harm and difficulty for patients than any failure by local or state governments to adopt policies of legalization of cannabis for recreational use. Any system of regulation should not be built on the backs of current medical cannabis laws.

Position:  The legalization of cannabis for recreational use is a separate issue from safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use. We caution policy makers against letting the debate surrounding legalization of cannabis for recreational use obscure the science and policy regarding the medical use of cannabis.