U.S.: Prominent Physicians Launch Pro-Marijuana Legalization Group

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Some of the most prominent physicians in the United States have teamed up to launch the nation’s first organization of doctors formed to advocate for the legalization and regulation of cannabis for adult use.

"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," Doctors For Cannabis Regulation (DFCR) states on its website.

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,” according to DFCR. But through daily immersion in anecdotal patient experience and scientific evidence, many knowledgeable American physicians recognize:

• Occasional 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," the organization announced. "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."

Members of the organization’s leadership team include former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders; integrative medicine pioneer Dr. Andrew Weil; Dr. H. Westley Clark, former director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment; Dr. Chris Beyrer, founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights; Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School; Dr. David Lewis, Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Community Health at Brown University; Dr. Donald Abrams, chief of the Hematology-Oncology Division at San Francisco General Hospital; and Dr. David Nathan, a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

A teleconference with leaders of DFCR, "the nation’s first organization of doctors calling for the legalization and regulation of cannabis for adult use," will be held at 2 p.m. ET on Monday. Scheduled to appear are Dr. Chris Beyrer, founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights; Dr. David Lewis, Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Community Health at Brown University; Dr. David Nathan, DFCR board president, Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; Dr. Julie Holland, former Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology at the New York University School of Medicine; Dr. Malik Burnett, resident physician, Johns Hopkins General Preventive Medicine program; and Brian C. Muraresku, DFCR executive director.

For more information, visit http://www.dfcr.org.
Facebook page: Doctors For Cannabis Regulation