A group of prominent U.S. physicians that includes a former surgeon general is forming a group to lobby for the legalization of cannabis, The Washington Post reports. Members of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR) plan to formally introduce the group on Monday.
The group will advocate for a legal, regulated market for adult recreational users. This is a break from the position of the American Medical Association, which still maintains that cannabis is a dangerous drug.
The DFRG is not endorsing the use of marijuana. It says a legal and regulated market will ensure public safety, tackle the black market trade and mitigate the negative impact of the War on Drugs in disadvantaged communities.
"You don't have to be pro-marijuana to be opposed to its prohibition," DFCR founder and board president David L. Nathan told the Post.
Prohibition has done more harm than good
Former surgeon general Joycelyn Elders says prohibition has done a lot more harm than good, especially within the country's Hispanic and black communities.
"Marijuana has never killed anybody," she told the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) in February. "It's never caused a lot of the things that we [opponents to legalization] are saying. And it's really been a war, if you will, against young black men and Hispanic men and more people of color. And in neighborhoods of color."
Nathan acknowledges there are risks associated with marijuana use, especially with younger people, but he says prohibition is not the best way to resolve those issues.
"Doctors should affirmatively support this," he 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)."
h/t The Washington Post