Physician Group Supports Federal Decriminalization, Regulation of Marijuana

The group’s stance is the opposite of that of the American Medical Association

medical marijuana
Julie Fidler
April 28, 2016

An increasing number of doctors believe marijuana should be legalized. A 2014 poll conducted by WebMD and Medscape found that 56% of doctors believe that cannabis should be legalized for medical purposes. Now, a group of more than 50 physicians, including former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, have teamed up with faculty members at some of the nation’s top medical schools to call on states and the federal government to decriminalize and regulate the use of marijuana in the interest of public health.


The group, Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR), is endorsing the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, a break from the position of the American Medical Association (AMA), the largest organization of doctors in the nation.

From DFCR’s point of view, the prohibition and criminalization of marijuana use is more harmful than helpful to the public. The group cites hundreds of thousands of annual marijuana arrests, racial and economic disparities in marijuana enforcement, and the role of prohibition in keeping marijuana prices high and remunerative to violent drug dealers. DFCR says that legalizing and regulating pot helps ensure public safety, and is vital to battling the illicit drug trade and repealing the negative consequences of the authoritarian enforcement policies on disadvantaged communities.

Some polls show that about 58% of the public says it is in favor of decriminalization, and even more individuals support the use of marijuana for medical reasons under the supervision of a doctor. Despite prohibition, some 35 million Americans use pot recreationally.

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Julie Fidler is a freelance writer, legal blogger, and the author of Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or the Absolute Worst. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two ridiculously spoiled cats. She occasionally pontificates on her blog.