Major Physicians’ Group Calls For Decriminalization of Marijuana
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 02/12/2015 in Medical Marijuana News
For the first time in more than a decade, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has updated its official position on medical marijuana by recommending that the U.S. government reclassify marijuana so that scientists can start to conduct real research into its potential health effects,. The AAP made its recommendation in its new policy statement.
Although AAP does not support the full legalization of marijuana, believing that the drug is not healthy for children and that legalizing it for cults will make it easier for children to get their hands on it, however the new policy statement supports the decriminalization of cannabis, a policy change that its authors believe will “take this while issue out of the criminal justice system and put it into the public health system where really should be.”
The physicians’ group says that the criminal penalties for being caught with marijuana should be reduced so that a drug possession charge no longer prevents young people from successfully finding gainful employment, being able to find housing, or being able to secure student loans in the future. The AAP recommended that all minors found in possession of the drug be entered into a treatment center instead of being placed into juvenile detention.
In addition, the pediatricians’ group recommended that marijuana be reclassified to a Schedule 2 controlled substance. Cannabis is currently classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic, making the research and study of cannabis nearly impossible. Scientists are currently required to get government funding for studies regarding the potential medical use of a Schedule 1 drug. They also required to get government approval for legal marijuana supplies. However these requests are almost always denied.
AAP explains that without rigorous scientific research, it will be difficult for public health officials to know how to exactly approach the marijuana policy. A dissension that has been growing in Colorado, where marijuana has now been legal for 2 years. Colorado government officials recently launched its first-eve statewide public health campaign about the safe use of marijuana. Existing research however is sparse, making it difficult to know which policies to specifically recommend, an issue that AAP feels could be resolved with more empirical data on cannabis.
Lead authors of the policy statement hope that the support of the AAP will help smooth the way for the federal government to allow more research on marijuana, with particular attention to its effect on children. The AAP would ultimately like to see research being done on the potential for pot to help address seizures that do not respond to ordinary pharmaceutical treatment.
Speaking to NBC News, Dr. Sharon Levy, the chair of AAP’s committee on substance abuse and one of the experts who authored the new policy, said, “There’s never been a study of cannabinoids in any form that has included children. With that in mind, the AAP cannot endorse use of cannabinoid medication with children. We do note, though, there have been anecdotal cases that look promising. And that suggests there’s a need for study. We support reducing the barriers to do that.”
“Its great to see a major physicians group getting behind medical marijuana. The more groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics start voicing their medical recommendations, the more the federal government will be forced to address the issue of rescheduling marijuana. Once cannabis has been re-catergorized as a schedule 2 controlled substance, scientist and physicians will finally be able to really begin studying and researching the different molecular components of marijuana to see how they can best benefit a patient medically,” said CEO and founder of MarijuanaDoctors.com, Jason Draizin. The New York-based company helps patients in each of the legal states find a marijuana doctor to help them qualify for their states program.