MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Oregon Doctors Stay Neutral On Issue
The Oregon Medical Association, representing 5,800 of the state's 8,300 doctors, "handed proponents of medical marijuana a victory on Sunday, voting to remain neutral in an impending ballot measure campaign to legalize marijuana for therapeutic purposes," the Portland Oregonian reports. On Saturday, former association president Charles Hoffman urged the group to follow the lead of the American Medical Association and support a ban on medical marijuana use "until experiments have proven its usefulness." The governing body, however, elected to change the wording of its resolution from "oppose" to "not support," a distinction which it feels reflects a neutral position. Dr. Richard Bayer, a Portland internist and supporter of the medical marijuana initiative, said it was a "win for the citizens of Oregon ... and for the OMA, because the OMA made a wise and compassionate decision." The organization also called on the National Institutes of Health to research marijuana's effectiveness as a medical therapy. James Kronenberg, associate executive director of the association, said the vote could alter the outcome of the upcoming election, since the group's neutrality on Oregon's assisted-suicide referendum may have helped the Death with Dignity Act pass (O'Neill, 4/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.