Earlier this week a group of physicians and medical personnel formed a national organization urging federal authorities to reform marijuana laws.
The Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR) is advocating for legal marijuana use and is comprised of over 50 physicians, former U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders, and other medical personnel from top medical schools. The group has formed at a time where the public’s acceptance of marijuana has been consistently increasing. Legalizing recreational marijuana now has the support of over 60% of Americans. An even higher number of people support medical marijuana.
However, David L. Nathan, founder and board president of the DFCR, told the Washington Post “You don’t have to be pro-marijuana to be opposed to its prohibition.” The DFCR cites arrests, criminal prosecution costs, and the black market as reasons probation of marijuana should be lifted. Nathan also said “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).”
The DFCR may have selected an ideal time to form their organization. Besides the swelling public support, there have been multiple developments that could signal an end to the federal prohibition of marijuana. Recently, the Drug Enforcement Agency announced a plan to consider re-scheduling marijuana this summer. In 2015, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) called on the center for disease and control to consider marijuana as potential treatment for opiate addiction. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Corey Booker (D-NJ) are among co-sponsors for the CARERS Act, a bill that would create significant reform to current marijuana policy. There has also been discussion of granting legal access to marijuana for military veterans in the U.S. Senate this week.