LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The largest group of doctors in California called on Monday for the legalization of marijuana throughout the state.
While the California Medical Association concedes that more study is needed on the medicinal benefits of marijuana, proponents say federal law prohibiting the drug is impeding research efforts.
Dr. James Hay, president-elect of the CMA, told KNX 1070 it’s time to take a hard look at cannabis.
“There are many people who are recommending it for medical purposes, but yet we don’t have adequate information to know safety or the effectiveness of marijuana as a medical product,” said Hay.
The group, while not opposed to federal regulation of marijuana use and distribution, are calling on the government to allow doctors to prescribe the drug directly to patients instead of having to risk sending them out to find the drug on their own.
Hay said doctors also want to feel safe conducting research without the fear of being arrested.
“We would rather that the drug be legal, regulated, and have a oversight method so that we can find out who is using it, who’s prescribing it, and make sure it’s being done the same way we do with other medications,” he said.
Despite a number of studies done in Europe and even a few in the U.S. suggesting there may be at least some medical benefits to marijuana — and Hay wants the ability for doctors to confirm those theories.
“There are many reports that say that there are certain benefits,” said Hay. “They might be limited, but we don’t have enough information to make that decision.”