joycelyn elders

Rhode Island: Physicians' Organization Throws Support Behind Marijuana Legalization Effort

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Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, an organization led by some of the most prominent physicians in the country, has formally endorsed the effort to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use in Rhode Island.

The addition of DFCR to the Regulate Rhode Island coalition comes at a pivotal time, just as state lawmakers are considering legislation to end marijuana prohibition.

Members of DFCR’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.

U.S.: Former Surgeon General Among Physicians Launching Doctors For Cannabis Regulation

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Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders, integrative medicine pioneer Dr. Andrew Weil, and professors from some of the country’s top medical schools are teaming up to launch the nation’s first organization of doctors formed to advocate for the legalization and regulation of cannabis for adult use.

"The potential for marijuana abuse is a serious issue, especially among our nation’s youth," said Dr. H. Wesley Clark, former director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. "And especially at a time when very powerful strains of cannabis and concentrates are available that simply didn’t exist in the past.

"But the consequences of being convicted under current marijuana laws are lifelong and severe, and it is beyond dispute that African Americans and Hispanics are disproportionately affected," Dr. Clark said. "Legalizing and regulating cannabis goes a long way towards addressing the incarceration epidemic in this country, as well as enabling research into the public health ramifications of this wide variety of cannabis."

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.

U.S.: Former Surgeon General Calls For Acceptance Of Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, 82, who served a short-lived tenure with President Bill Clinton, built a reputation for being willing to speak openly about medicinal uses for marijuana. On Saturday morning, Elders opened the International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco with a ringing condemnation of America's drug enforcement policies.

Elders called for an end to the federal policy which classifies cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance with no accepted medical uses, reports Peter Hecht at The Sacramento Bee. That officially makes weed worse than meth or cocaine, according to the federal government.

The former Surgeon General called for increased federal marijuana research, and decriminalization of cannabis for both medicinal and recreational use, heralding a shift from a law enforcement approach to a public health approach.

"We know that prohibition laws did nothing but waste money, waste lives and destroy opportunities," said Elder. "It is not working. And marijuana has been the engine driving the drug war."

Elders spoke at length on the medical benefits of marijuana for pain and nausea, and called for more studies on whether "one of the oldest domesticated crops in the world" could also offer benefits to those suffering from ailments such as shingles and emotional disorders.

She urged more research -- "a health-centered approach for looking at drugs" -- instead of more law enforcement.

U.S.: Surgeon General Says Marijuana Can Be Helpful

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has joined the growing number of top medical professionals and organizations favoring the reform of marijuana allows to allow access to cannabis for medicinal purposes.

"We have some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms, that marijuana can be helpful," Dr. Murthy said, reports communications director Jag Davies at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). "I think that we have to use that data to drive policymaking."

Despite the legalization of medical marijuana in 23 states, the federal government still insists cannabis is a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no medical value.

It's an "interesting story that's unfolding in our country right now," according to Dr. Murthy, and "we have to see what the science tells us about the efficacy of marijuana, and I think we're going to get a lot more data on that" as more states legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Patients in states without medical marijuana laws have no legal access at all to this therapeutic substance. Even in states where medical marijuana has been legalized, patients and providers are vulnerable to arrest and harassment from federal law enforcement agents.

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