Legalizing marijuana would help doctors make better use of it in medical treatments, says the California Medical Association, in an official endorsement for legalizing the drug. California’s largest physician organization couldn’t have picked a better time to announce this update to it’s ‘cannabis policy’: Popular support for pot legalization (for whatever reason) has reached a record high, a new Gallup poll finds.
“CMA may be the first organization of its kind to take this position, but we won’t be the last,” said CMA President James T. Hay. ”This was a carefully considered, deliberative decision made exclusively on medical and scientific grounds. As physicians, we need to have a better understanding about the benefits and risks of medicinal cannabis so that we can provide the best care possible to our patients.”
Because cannabis is still classified a Schedule I drug by the federal government, researchers face restrictions in studying the drug. In this strange piecemeal legalization system we currently have, doctors in 16 states (including California) can legally prescribe patients marijuana, yet doctors and scientists can’t study it like they would with other medications. Part of the reason pot culture hasn’t evolved beyond swirled glass bubblers and names like ‘Sour Diesel’ and ‘Purple Kush,’ I’m convinced, is this schizophrenic attitude we have toward marijuana in this country. If it’s a medicine, let’s treat it like one—including allowing doctors to scientifically study its effects.
It’s interesting, though—with each post-boomer generation reaching adulthood, support for legalizing marijuana (and not just medical marijuana) grows. When Gallup began conducting a survey on legalizing marijuana in 1969, only 12% of Americans said they supported legalization. In the 1980s and 90s, it hovered in the mid-20s; by 2000 it had reached 30% in favor. In 2009, 40% supported legalization. Today: 50%.
Among Generation Y adults (age 18-29), 62% favored legislation. For Gen X (roughly ages 30-49), support stood at 56%; for boomers, 49%. Support was, unsurprisingly, lowest among those 65+, at 31% (that’s half as much as in today’s youngest adults).