The California Medical Association has officially endorsed the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act, the state’s grassroots effort to reform cannabis legislation.
In a press release, the CMA specifically supports the benefits of cannabis regulation, stating, “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.” The CMA is comprised of 41,000 practicing physicians, making it the largest associations of doctors in the state.
The CMA has previously called for more research into medical marijuana, outlining it in a landmark white paper in 2011. The group also suggests a clear delineation between recreational and medical uses.
“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.”
Said Steven Larson, MD, MPH, President of California Medical Association.
The Adult Use of Marijuana Act has strong support from both inside and outside the cannabis community. The July 5th deadline requires that the group collect almost 366,000 signatures to make it eligible for the November 2016 ballot. Compared with prior efforts, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act addresses several of the shortcomings of failed ballot measures, including the freedom for employers to shape their own drug policies in the private sector. To fund marijuana regulation, there are provisions for a sales tax that would also support education and law enforcement. It’s estimated that the state could collect roughly $1bn in marijuana tax revenue.
The last major initiative in California’s legalization efforts was in 2010. Proposition 19 was narrowly defeated (53.5% in opposition). While legalization efforts have already passed in Colorado and Washington, California’s large and diverse population have made for fragmented legalization initiatives among its 38.8 million citizens.