Pot and the AMA

| Wed Nov. 11, 2009 12:00 PM EST

Marijuana use got another small boost yesterday:

The American Medical Assn. on Tuesday urged the federal government to reconsider its classification of marijuana as a dangerous drug with no accepted medical use, a significant shift that puts the prestigious group behind calls for more research.

...."Despite more than 30 years of clinical research, only a small number of randomized, controlled trials have been conducted on smoked cannabis," said Dr. Edward Langston, an AMA board member, noting that the limited number of studies was "insufficient to satisfy the current standards for a prescription drug product."

Earlier this year there was sort of a boomlet in optimism about marijuana legalization, but while I was working on my pot piece for the July/August issue of the magazine I became convinced that it had been overblown.  I'd say we still have another decade before there's a real sea change in policy.

Still, this is the kind of thing that has to happen in order for marijuana use to become mainstreamed.  It's one of those small steps that lots of people can agree on (there's scandalously little serious medical research on marijuana), and the results are almost certain to be good for the cause of legalization.  Still, even if the AMA's call gets some attention, these results are years away, and in the meantime there's also pushback like this taking place.  Progress is going to be slow and arduous, and I continue to think that I'll be surprised if serious moves toward widespread legalization take place in less than five or ten years.