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AMA Still Opposed to the Legalization of Marijuana

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Marijuana seems to be on an express train to acceptability. Opinion polls show more people are in favor of legalization. Two states are getting set for recreational use, and medicinal marijuana is legal in many states. But not everyone has jumped on board. A few prominent voices remain opposed to legalization, including the American Medical Association. The AMA recently reviewed the language of its policy on marijuana and generally reiterated its stance against legalization. The AMA’s House of Delegates kept the policy language that “cannabis is a dangerous drug and as such is a public health concern.” The organization would also like to review the risks and benefits of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, the states that have legalized recreational use. The AMA said that the current efforts to enforce marijuana laws are inadequate.  It added language that calls for public-health-based strategies instead of incarceration. One of the arguments for legalization is that the laws are not enforced equally—with African Americans much more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. Other voices against legalization come from the group Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), which was co-founded by former Rep. Patrick Kennedy. The organization has tried to open a dialogue that has less of the good/bad, harmless/gateway drug arguments that have dominated the public discourse on marijuana.  SAM supports policies that would decrease marijuana use but not stigmatize users with arrests for possessing small amounts. The debate will rage on in many forums. But the public debate doesn’t take away personal responsibility. The fact that alcohol is legal does not make it any less dangerous to an alcoholic, just more accessible. Ease of access is a problem for many abusive substances, including alcohol and prescription drugs. Learning how to avoid the pitfalls of that access is one lesson you learn in drug rehab. Call Stepping Stone Center if you or loved ones are struggling with drugs or alcohol. Our intake counselors can help you 24/7 if you call 866-957-4960.

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