Friday, November 22, 2013

American Medical Association statement on drug policy and marijuana legalization

The American Medical Association recently updated its position on marijuana policy:

Our AMA:
(1) discourages cannabis use, especially by persons vulnerable to the drug's effects and in high risk situations;
(2) supports the determination of the consequences of long-term cannabis use through concentrated research, especially among youth and adolescents; and
(3) supports the modification of state and federal laws to emphasize public health based strategies to address and reduce cannabis use.

Our AMA believes a plea of cannabis intoxication not be a defense in any criminal proceedings.

The AMA, in an effort to reduce personal and public health risks of drug use, urges the formulation of a comprehensive national policy on drug abuse, specifically advising that the federal government and the nation should:
(1) acknowledge that federal efforts to address illicit drug use via supply reduction and enforcement have been ineffective;
(2) expand the availability and reduce the cost of treatment programs for substance use disorders, including addiction;
(3) lead a coordinated approach to adolescent drug education;
(4) develop community-based prevention programs for youth at risk;
(5) continue to fund the Office of National Drug Control Policy to coordinate federal drug policy;
(6) extend greater protection against discrimination in the employment and provision of services to drug abusers;
(7) make a long-term commitment to expand research and data collection;
(8) broaden the focus of national and local policy from drug abuse to substance abuse; and
(9) recognize the complexity of the problem of substance abuse and oppose drug legalization.

Our AMA:
(1) encourages national policy-makers to pursue an approach to the problem of drug abuse aimed at preventing the initiation of drug use, aiding those who wish to cease drug use, and diminishing the adverse consequences of drug use;
(2) encourages policy-makers to recognize the importance of screening for alcohol and other drug use in a variety of settings, and to broaden their concept of addiction treatment to embrace a continuum of modalities and goals . . .

Our AMA believes that:
(1) cannabis is a dangerous drug and as such is a public health concern;
(2) sale of cannabis should not be legalized;
(3) public health based strategies, rather than incarceration, should be utilized in the handling of individuals possessing cannabis for personal use; and
(4) additional research should be encouraged.

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