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.