The medical marijuana laws are failing at ensuring that people can use marijuana if it helps with symptoms of various diseases. In some states individuals can obtain a card allowing for the legal possession of marijuana. This might be obtained from a physician who is familiar with their medical history, or it might have been purchased from doctors who will give approval for marijuana use for $100. The laws typically do a poor job of stipulating how marijuana can be obtained. There is no doubt that many people are taking advantage of the program to obtain legal access to marijuana without legitimate need, leading to government crack-downs which make it more difficult to obtain marijuana.
With all the problems caused by these laws there is one obvious solution–legalize marijuana and eliminate the need for the poorly-constructed medical marijuana programs. The California Medical Association agrees:
The state’s largest doctor group is calling for legalization of marijuana, even as it pronounces cannabis to be of questionable medical value.
Trustees of the California Medical Assn., which represents more than 35,000 physicians statewide, adopted the position at their annual meeting in Anaheim late Friday. It is the first major medical association in the nation to urge legalization of the drug, according to a group spokeswoman, who said the larger membership was notified Saturday.
Dr. Donald Lyman, the Sacramento physician who wrote the group’s new policy, attributed the shift to growing frustration over California’s medical marijuana law, which permits cannabis use with a doctor’s recommendation. That, he said, has created an untenable situation for physicians: deciding whether to give patients a substance that is illegal under federal law.
“It’s an uncomfortable position for doctors,” he said. “It is an open question whether cannabis is useful or not. That question can only be answered once it is legalized and more research is done. Then, and only then, can we know what it is useful for.”
While the medical benefits remain uncertain, it is best to keep the government out of this issue and let people decide for themselves whether it is helping them. Prohibition does not work, and creates many problems. A Gallup poll today showed that a record high of 50 percent now support legalization. Not unexpectedly, conservatives who falsely claim they support smaller government are less likely to support legalization:
Support for legalizing marijuana is directly and inversely proportional to age, ranging from 62% approval among those 18 to 29 down to 31% among those 65 and older. Liberals are twice as likely as conservatives to favor legalizing marijuana. And Democrats and independents are more likely to be in favor than are Republicans.