Cannabis is now legal for 18 million Americans — over 5% of the US population — and that number is increasing rapidly. As the public recognizes that cannabis prohibition clearly causes more harm than good, the momentum for nationwide legalization grows. Given that decriminalization has proven to be an inadequate alternative to legalization, now is the time for physicians to begin advocating for effective government regulation of cannabis. According to a 2014 WebMD/Medscape poll, most American physicians believe that medical cannabis should be legal, and hundreds of thousands of doctors now support legalization of cannabis for consenting adults. In 2011, the California Medical Association made history by becoming the first major physicians’ association to endorse full legalization and regulation. Until recently, many physicians have been reluctant to publicly voice their opposition to the war on marijuana, lest they appear to condone recreational cannabis use and violate their ethical responsibility to “do no harm.” But through daily immersion in anecdotal patient experience and scientific evidence, many knowledgeable American physicians recognize:
- Use of cannabis by healthy adults is generally benign, making its prohibition unnecessary.
- Cannabis is far less harmful for adults than alcohol and tobacco, which are both legal because of the impracticality of prohibiting so-called ‘soft’ drugs.
- Cannabis can be harmful to minors, but prohibition doesn’t prevent children and teens from accessing the drug.
- The burden of cannabis prohibition falls disproportionately upon communities of color and the nation’s poor.
Today, doctors realize that you don’t have to be pro-marijuana to oppose its prohibition. Doctors for Cannabis Regulation is an organization whose time has come, serving as the voice of physicians guiding our nation along a well-regulated path to cannabis legalization. If you are a physician who wants to ensure that our government controls and regulates cannabis responsibly, then join us.