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Nov-10-2009 08:21printcomments

AMA Calls for Review of Medical Marijuana's Legal Status

New Policy Marks Historic Shift From Prior Stance.

Medicinal marijuana garden
Medicinal marijuana garden. Photo:

(HOUSTON, TEXAS) - In a move considered historic by supporters of medical marijuana, the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates today adopted a new policy position calling for the review of marijuana’s status as a Schedule I drug in the federal Controlled Substances Act.

The old language in Policy H-95.952 had previously recommended that “marijuana be retained in Schedule I,” which groups marijuana with drugs such as heroin, LSD and PCP that are deemed to have no accepted medical uses and to be unsafe for use even under medical supervision.

The revised policy, adopted today, states, “Our AMA urges that marijuana’s status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and alternate delivery methods.”

It goes on to explain that this position should not be construed as an endorsement of state medical marijuana programs.

“This shift, coming from what has historically been America’s most cautious and conservative major medical organization, is historic,” said Aaron Houston, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project, who attended the AMA meeting.

“Marijuana’s Schedule I status is not just scientifically untenable, given the wealth of recent data showing it to be both safe and effective for chronic pain and other conditions, but it’s been a major obstacle to needed research.”

Drugs listed in Schedule II, for which medical use is permitted with strict controls, include cocaine, morphine and methamphetamine. A pill containing THC, the component responsible for marijuana’s “high,” is classed in Schedule III, whose looser requirements allow phoned-in prescriptions.

With more than 29,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States.

MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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audrey February 16, 2010 7:50 am (Pacific time)

marijuana should be legal

Tim King November 12, 2009 8:10 pm (Pacific time)

Wow J. Burt, the comment of yours that I just deleted is a real sizzler, and a laugh. You think you can threaten us and get away with it? First, I do have your comment and related data saved. Second, if you actually are with DHS, we're going to have some real fun. First, we have an article by Dr. Leveque coming out that addresses your outlandish accusations. Second, if you are actually a DHS employee, you are way out of line.

November 12, 2009 2:32 pm (Pacific time)

I was trying to get ahold of Dr. Leveque, I just recently moved to Salem, Oregon. I am tired of taking all of the medications the VA is giving me like pain pills and anti depressents, I heard medical marijuana is a great way to go, and I am wondering how I would go about getting a permit. Its for my PTSD and also back and knee pain from an explosion in Iraq. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Editor: The THCF Clinic is an advertiser, they have all of the information you need on the front page.  We'll make sure Dr. Leveque sees this, thanks.

heylel shalem November 11, 2009 5:31 pm (Pacific time)

i am currently in the process for applying for medical marijuana. I have a rather debilitating intestinal disorder that the usual treatment for is mega-dosage of a tranq. Needless to say the higher dosages of the tranq that i am prescribed has some rather nasty side affects as well as a particularly groggy feeling that not even a full pot of coffee could wake one out of. I have smoked indica blends that are more "mellow" and not so THC intensive and the sendentary effects completely keep my guts calm enough so i can function during the day and it usually requires a little bit of tea to Counter the slight "tired effect". And with ganja I have no nausea that i usually get with the tranqs. The irony being is that my medicare covers my tranqs and i only pay three dollars for a huge bottle of these pills. I still take them when My stomach/guts/intestines decide to get themselves too worked up and i cannot smoke or cannot afford smoke. I find it particularly offensive that a valid medicine is being/ or has been heavily censored and blacklisted simply due to the whining of the oil industry/petrochemical division, or the cotton/lumber phamicutical companies who apparently fear the economic impact on them. As for the replacement of lumber with hemp? we can do that. And oil with hemp, and plastic with hemp, and paper and cloth and shampoo, and cooking oil and fiberboard, and shampoo and soap and omega 3 protein suppliment. But the more you keep it illegal. the more mexican drug lords will import. And they are intensely violent unlike our more peaceful neighbors up nort-the canadians..but canada has better weed anyways..mexican grass tends to be lazily grown outdoor. and they like to also smuggle in meth and cocaine as well.

John Burt MSW November 11, 2009 12:07 pm (Pacific time)

Yes, smoking marijuana before the nervous system becomes fully mature is not a smart thing to do. Nor is it a smart thing to do after the nervous system is fully matured, which for humans occurs after 26 years. Research shows adolescents have a rate of marijuana addiction that is double that of adults, perhaps because adolescents brains are not fully developed. Research has PROVEN that smoking marijuana is extremely damaging to health and lungs, even more damaging than smoking tobacco. This why smoking marijuana cannot be recommended as good treatment for any medical condition. Research continues to develop new medications from derivatives of the marijuana plant. These legitimate medications are not smoked, however, but are administered by means other than smoking. These medications are obtained through prescription and their use is supervised by a licensed physician. Marijuana for smoking is not available for prescription, and likely never will be. Trying to justify marijuana smoking by claiming it is a "medical treatment" is absurd. I have been a rehabilitation counselor for over 35 years.

Editor: Man, where do you get off spewing your 1950's BS on this page?  Everything you said is fantasy for the most part, in fact you are completely full of it.   Marijuana is a natural herb that has never killed anyone in all of history.  The only thing dangerous about marijuana is the propaganda that liars attempt to spread.  You are probably from an industry like big pharma that is scared of the natural, amazing medicine that marijuana actually is.  I have an email file so full of comments from people who successfully use MMJ that it would make your head spin.  Real quality of life is found in marijuana, often for the first time in a person's existence.  Because people like yourself create false statements and inject them into the mix, you taint the water and confuse people.  But I am here to set them straight and I will always be here to do that.  People are learning by the hundreds of thousands currently, that we have been bamboozled and led down some dark roads and that industries threatened by a simple, natural medicine would have us navigate.  God is not mistaken, man is.  God put marijuana on the earth and gave it the qualities to turn lives around, and it is sickening and anti-American to stand in opposition to something that helps so many of our damaged combat veterans.  But you don't care about that, you care about fascist outdated laws that police and politicians are becoming ashamed of.  You and your dishonest cohorts and diehard cops have demonized this innocent weed enough.   

Winder November 11, 2009 7:24 am (Pacific time)

After a little web research, I've discovered that it could be as simple as this: The Attorney General has the power to order the DEA to reschedule this benign plant from schedule I to II, III, IV, V or take it off the schedule altogether, as it's not really a "drug", but an herb. The man in power at the moment, Eric Holder, has only to give the order. Of course, he needs approval from his boss, President Obama. While they're at it, they need to tell the clown running the drug war dog-and-pony-show to cease and desist with his tired, fallacious rhetoric; "marijuana is dangerous and has no medical value". (Two ridiculous lies in one careless statement) I know "Kerly" is obliged by law to NOT do anything good for the good herb, but he CAN just shut up. Barring that, it will literally take an act of congress to reschedule a plant that never should've been on the schedule to begin with. This may actually have a chance for success now that the esteemed AMA has graciously changed their tune. At what point does a comment become an article? Hahaha

Winder November 10, 2009 10:18 am (Pacific time)

Wow, that's great news...I guess.

Depending on if they'll listen. And, who are "they"?

I've never understood, exactly, who's keeping this in schedule I...FDA? DEA? Dubya? Congress?

Who gets the AMA's report/recommendation?

Does congress have to vote on this? Or can President Obama just wave his magic pen?

This could be historic, or it could be a futile, meaningless gesture, depending on who makes the call.

Who? Anyone know?

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.