Thursday, November 12, 2009

AMA Wants Federal Government to Review Marijuana Scheduling and Restrictions

AMA Calls for Feds to Review Marijuana Restrictions

Posted by Stephanie Condon
November 11, 2009 10:36 AM

(CBS) The American Medical Association on Tuesday adopted a resolution
calling for the government to review its classification of marijuana, in
order to ease the way for more research into the use of medical

While the AMA, the largest physician's organization in the U.S.,
explicitly states it does not endorse any current state-based medical
marijuana programs or the legalization of marijuana, the move is a
significant shift that continues a trend toward support for easing
restrictions against the drug.

"Our American Medical Association (AMA) urges that marijuana's status as
a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of
facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of
cannabinoid- based medicines," the AMA's statement (PDF) reads. "This
should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based medical cannabis
programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on
the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a
prescription drug product."

Marijuana is currently classified by the federal government as a
"Schedule I" controlled substance, the most restrictive of five
categories. Schedule I substances are considered to have a high
potential for abuse, no accepted medical use and a lack of accepted
safety for use of the drug. Other drugs in that category include heroin,
LSD and PCP. Less restrictive "Schedule II" substances include cocaine
and methamphetamine.

Previously, the AMA recommended marijuana remain a Schedule I controlled
substance, but it now believes the substance deserves more clinical

"Despite more than 30 years of clinical research, only a small number of
randomized, controlled trials have been conducted on smoked cannabis,"
Dr. Edward Langston, an AMA board member, told the Los Angeles Times.
Limited studies, he said, are "insufficient to satisfy the current
standards for a prescription drug product."

The White House drug czar's office gave a muted response to the AMA's
recommendation, the LA Times reports, saying it would defer to "the
FDA's judgment that the raw marijuana plant cannot meet the standards
for identity, strength, quality, purity, packaging and labeling required
of medicine."

While the Obama administration opposes legalization of marijuana, the
Justice Department last month announced it would no longer pursue
prosecution for state-sanctioned medical marijuana sales. As many as 13
states now allow the use of medical marijuana.

The debate over whether to legalize marijuana all together seems to be
gaining steam. A Gallup poll last month showed a record 44 percent of
Americans now support legalizing marijuana. Meanwhile, California
residents may get to vote on a 2010 ballot measure to legalize the drug
in the state.

http://www.cbsnews. com/blogs/ 2009/11/11/ politics/ politicalhotshee t/entry\

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