The American Academy of Family Physicians Calls for Marijuana Reform

By Tom Angell for Marijuana dot com

One of the largest medical organizations in the United States is calling for marijuana to be reclassified under federal law and decriminalized.

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), which represents 120,900 family physicians, family medicine residents and medical students, adopted two marijuana reform resolutions at its annual Congress of Delegates meeting in Denver on Wednesday.

“Drug Enforcement Administration scheduling of marijuana as a Schedule I drug prevents funding and legalization of research on the pharmacological properties of cannabinoids,” reads the rescheduling resolution sponsored by AAFP’s Minnesota chapter. The group supports “reclassifying marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II drug by continued discussions with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as this will facilitate further research on the potential medical uses of pharmaceutical cannabinoids.”

The organization’s delegates also considered a broader resolution concerning marijuana legalization, sponsored by AAFP’s New York chapter.

The proposal would have put the organization officially in support of “laws to legalize possession and cultivation of marijuana for personal use for people over age 21,” further advocating that “a percentage of those funds to be used for substance abuse treatment if laws are passed regarding the taxation of marijuana.”

But, according to MedPage Today, some delegates at the meeting were uncomfortable going that far, so the resolution was amended to cover decriminalization only instead of full legalization.

In introducing the broader resolution, a New York delegate argued that marijuana should be treated “similar to alcohol. Although, we know it also has health impacts, we allow for people to make their own personal decisions, and don’t make it so much a legal issue, which we know is one of the harms of marijuana use.”

But a delegate from Colorado countered that “legalizing marijuana has not been simple in Colorado. A common idea is that if you legalize marijuana, the criminal activity will disappear. That’s not what happens.”

Another delegate added, “My issue with legalization is that legalization means profit.”

Ultimately, the Congress of Delegates limited the resolution’s scope to decriminalization and approved it.

AAFP has previously called for rescheduling of cannabis under federal law.

Read the full AAFP resolutions as introduced here.

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