November 10th, 2009 By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
The Schedule I federal classification of cannabis — which states that, by law, the marijuana plant and its natural compounds have “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States” — has long since passed the point of farcical. Nevertheless, defenders of the so-called “Schedule I lie” have possessed, for nearly 30 years, one prestigious ally that they could always rely on to endorse their absurd position: the American Medical Association.
Today the AMA voted to reverse its longstanding endorsement of cannabis’ Schedule I prohibitive status. The vote took place during the organization’s annual Interim Meeting of the House of Delegates in Houston, Texas, and marks the first time that the AMA has revisited its position on cannabis in eight years.
As newly amended, the AMA’s official position (see specifically pages 12, 13, and 14) regarding the medical use of cannabis no longer “recommends that marijuana be retained in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.” Rather, the Association now resolves “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.”
The AMA also today demolished long-held pot prohibitionist claim — frequently publicized by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and others — that “no sound scientific studies have supported medical use of smoked marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data support the safety or efficacy of smoked marijuana for general medical use.” To the contrary, the AMA has adopted a report drafted by its Council on Science and Public Health (CSAPH) entitled, “Use of Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes,” which states, “Results of short term controlled trials indicate that smoked cannabis reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite and caloric intake especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.”
Now that the AMA has finally acknowledged reality, is anyone else wondering if David Evans (or the DEA) will finally update their talking points?