If a newly formed group of American doctors gets its way, the DEA will indeed reschedule cannabis this year.
Over 50 prominent American doctors have just launched the Doctors for Cannabis Regulations (DFCR), a group founded on the firm belief that marijuana for adult recreational use should be outright legalized.
The group, which includes former U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders, was formed last Monday by board President David L. Nathan, an associate professor at Rutgers medical school. While the group isn’t necessarily “pro-marijuana”, the DFCR vehemently opposes marijuana’s prohibition.
The DFCR’s foundation seems to be a partially moral one, as the group cites the need to stop arresting people for marijuana use and the need to phase out the black market as two of its core foundations. Likewise, the group believes that legalizing cannabis and creating a regulated market would benefit society more than prohibition harms society by lowering national arrests and creating a less racially disparate nation.
However, that philosophy is not shared by the American Medical Association (AMA), the nation’s largest group of physicians. While the AMA’s current recommendation does call for more medical research into the plant and for “public health based strategies”, the group still considers marijuana to be a “dangerous drug.”
The DFCR’s philosophy does, however, appear to align with the CDC’s recent recommendation that doctors stop testing patients for cannabis use. Nathan, the DFCR’s president, appears steadfast in his belief that all doctors should align with his newly founded group’s approach, telling The Washington Post that
“Doctors should affirmatively support this. If you’re going to make something against the law, the health consequences of that use have to be so bad to make it worth creating criminal consequences. That was never true of marijuana. It was banned in 1937 over the objections of the American Medical Association (AMA).”
Ironically, the AMA, which now calls marijuana dangerous, originally opposed the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, the act that inherently began marijuana’s prohibition. That act was largely the doing of Harry J. Anslinger, America’s first commissioner of the United States Treasury, and was one that carried political weight that no doctors association could topple.
It’s taken nearly 80 years, but at least one sector of America’s doctors, including a former Surgeon General, are no longer afraid to ask for real change. Like the DFCR, all doctors, including the AMA, believe the DEA at least should make it easier for physicians to conduct legitimate medical studies into the plant.
Should the DEA’s imminent decision change marijuana to a Schedule II drug, then the doors for those studies would officially open. Thereafter, legalization shouldn’t be too far behind.
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