Patient Safety Drives California Medical Association's Position on Cannabis


Last month, the California Medical Association (CMA) adopted an official position calling for the legalization and regulation of cannabis. According to an editorial in the Sacramento Bee by CMA president-elect Dr. Paul Phinney and CMA speaker of the house Dr. Luther Cobb, the adoption of this policy by the largest statewide physician organization in America is primarily a result of concern for patient safety as the present system of medical cannabis is "flawed, contradictory, and dangerously detached from scientific evidence...Until [it] is legalized, we cannot regulate it in a way that's safe for patient use."

Citing both a "lack of comprehensive scientific and medical research" as well as a fear of federal prosecution under the current state of cannabis, the CMA believes that by removing cannabis from Schedule I and allowing for research and regulation, they are "watching out for the good of the public health and the safety of [their] patients."  The organization's goal in calling for legalization is not to make the drug more widely available but instead to "create a strict regulatory system, ultimately limiting distribution and standardizing medical cannabis."

Hopefully for medical cannabis patients and advocates, the trend of seeing medical cannabis as a health issue rather than a legal or law enforcement one will continue to gain support from other public health organizations as the impact of the CMA's  new policy continues to spread.