Top doctors form group to back cannabis legalization

A group of heavyweights from the medical profession have teamed up to support the legalization of marijuana in the interests of public health, giving the cannabis industry a potentially important ally.

Doctors for Cannabis Regulation announced its launch last week, saying it is the first such organization to advocate for the legalization and regulation of cannabis for adult use. The group of more than 50 physicians includes former U.S. surgeon general Jocelyn Elders and faculty members at some of the country’s top medical schools.

“The medical profession should join with the public to design a safe and effective public health approach to legalizing marijuana use,” David Lewis, founder of the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, said in a statement.

In 2011, the California Medical Association, which represents about 40,000 physicians, became the first doctors group to come out in favor of the marijuana legalization, the Washington Post reported.

“We want to build a group of physicians who are going to be out in the public making the case for marijuana legalization to physicians, medical associations and the public at large,” David Nathan, the new group’s founder and associate professor at Rutgers University’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, told the Post.