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CMA endorses marijuana ballot initiative to regulate and monitor substance



February 02, 2016

The California Medical Association (CMA) has formally endorsed the ballot measure known as the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act.


CMA does not as a matter of policy encourage the use of marijuana and discourages smoking. But, ultimately, its physician members believe that the most effective way to protect the public health is to tightly control, track and regulate marijuana and to comprehensively research and educate the public on its health impacts – not through ineffective prohibition.


Consistent with the organization’s historic White Paper of 2011 urging legalization and regulation of cannabis to allow for greater clinical research, oversight, accountability and quality control, CMA has endorsed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act so:


  • First, the impacts of marijuana in California can be monitored, researched, tightly regulated and, where necessary, mitigated to protect the public health; and

  • Second, improper diversion by non-symptomatic patients into California’s medical marijuana system can be reduced.

  • “The California Medical Association believes the Adult Use of Marijuana Act is a comprehensive and thoughtfully constructed measure that will allow state officials to better protect public health by clarifying the role of physicians, controlling and regulating marijuana use by responsible adults and keeping it out of the hands of children,” said Steven Larson, M.D., MPH, CMA president.


    “Medical marijuana should be strictly regulated like medicine to ensure safe and appropriate use by patients with legitimate health conditions and adult-use marijuana should be regulated like alcohol. This measure – along with the recently-passed medical marijuana bills – will ensure the state of California does both – with the public health and public interest being paramount concerns.”


    The Adult Use of Marijuana Act is a consensus measure based on recognized best practices and recommendations from engaged citizens and organizations representing local government, health and policy experts, environmental leaders, small farmers and business owners, worker representatives, and social justice advocates.


    It includes safeguards for children, workers, local governments and small businesses, as well as strict anti-monopoly provisions and the toughest warning label and marketing-to-kids laws in the nation.


    The initiative provides hundreds of millions of dollars in annual funding – the highest level ever by any state in America – for youth drug prevention, education and treatment programs. It also provides significant investment into local law enforcement and environmental and water protection programs.


    It also closely adheres to Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy and the new medical marijuana laws recently passed by a bipartisan majority of the Legislature and signed by Governor Brown (SB 643, AB 266 and AB 243).


    Supporters of the initiative have begun collecting signatures to place it on the November ballot.

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