Group of physicians officially forms not-for-profit organization to act as a guiding voice for the coming age of legalized marijuana.
Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR) formally announced their formation on Monday with the intent to guide the country’s conversation regarding the legalization of cannabis for adult recreational use. The group is made up of more than 50 physicians, including faculty members at the nation’s premier medical schools and former surgeon general Joycelyn Elders, who has long been a proponent for a sensible approach to drug legalization.
DFCR’s mission is to act as the “voice of physicians guiding our nation along a well-regulated path to cannabis legalization.” Calling on state and federal governments to legalize and regulate cannabis in the best interest of public health, the members of the DFCR see the goals of the organization as falling in line with their oaths as doctors.
Citing a 2014 WebMD/Medscape poll, the DFCR website asserts that nearly 80% of doctors now believe that medical cannabis has tangible benefits for patients and should be legal. A growing number of physicians now also support recreational legalization as a sensible solution to the future of marijuana.
In 2011, the California Medical Association endorsed full legalization and regulation of recreational cannabis, a trend physicians around the country are starting to mirror. The more doctors are interacting with patients and learning about cannabis both anecdotally and through published research, the more they are seeing that the costs of cannabis prohibition far outweigh the dangers to public health.
The DFCR website provides a list of the reasons they see for cannabis legalization: including the benign nature of occasional use, the fact that it is less harmful than tobacco or alcohol, and the general failure of the War on Drugs.
After a teleconference on Monday, the group released A Declaration of Principles, outlining their organization’s core beliefs.
Beginning with overwhelming statistics regarding the harms of cannabis prohibition, the document discusses the overburdened criminal justice system and disproportionate consequences for minority and low-income individuals. Acknowledging that the war on marijuana has failed, DFCR believes that abuse of cannabis should be regarded as a health issue, rather than a criminal issue. The organization concedes that the only rational approach is to regulate its use and apply tax revenue to fund cannabis research, education, and drug abuse treatment.
DFCR also sees regulation of a legal marijuana market as an essential way to limit the access of cannabis to minors, one of the groups most at danger from abuse of cannabis. The organization claims that a legalized cannabis industry will limit the points of access for teens, making abuse of cannabis among this age group more difficult.
The DFCR website goes on to decry decriminalization as an unviable solution to the current cannabis question. While decriminalization takes an important step to restoring liberties back to our citizens, it fails on a number of fronts: it doesn’t remove the dangerous black market, it doesn’t remove access for minors, and it doesn’t let the government regulate its cultivation, manufacturing, and sale. Not only are valuable tax dollars lost, but so are opportunities to protect against contamination and regulate potencies.
Many times on the organization’s website, the reader is reminded that “you don’t have to be pro-marijuana to oppose its prohibition”, a common sense approach to cannabis that seems to be taking hold across the country. There are now 24 medical marijuana states with the addition of Pennsylvania over the weekend and a number of states have ballot initiatives planned for the election this fall.