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March 19, 1982

Legal Status of Marijuana

Author Affiliations

House of Representatives Washington, DC

JAMA. 1982;247(11):1563. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320360015008

To the Editor.—  The American Medical Association's Council on Scientific Affairs should be commended for its report, "Marijuana: Its Health Hazards and Therapeutic Potential" (1981;246:1823). Not only does the report outline evidence of marijuana's potential harms, but it distinguishes this concern from the legitimate issue of marijuana's important medical benefits. All too often the hysteria that attends public debate over marijuana's social abuse compromises a clear appreciation for this critical distinction.Since 1978, 32 states have abandoned the federal prohibition to recognize legislatively marijuana's important medical properties. Federal law, however, continues to define marijuana as a drug "with no accepted medical use," and federal agencies continue to prohibit physician-patient access to marijuana. This outdated federal prohibition is corrupting the intent of the state laws and depriving thousands of glaucoma and cancer patients of the medical care promised them by their state legislatures.On Sept 16, 1981, Representative Stewart McKinney and

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