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Massachusetts Medical Society




Marijuana is unique among illegal drugs in its political symbolism, its safety, and its wide use. More than 65 million Americans have tried marijuana, the use of which is not associated with increased mortality. Since the federal government first tried to tax it out of existence in 1937, at least partly in response to the 1936 film Reefer Madness, marijuana has remained at the center of controversy. Now physicians are becoming more actively involved. Most recently, the federal drug policy against any use of marijuana has been challenged by California's attempt to legalize its use by certain patients on the recommendation of their physicians. The federal government responded by threatening California physicians who recommend marijuana to their sick patients with investigation and the loss of their prescription privileges under Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regulations.


From The New England Journal of Medicine, George J. Annas, Reefer Madness: The Federal Response to California's Medical-Marijuana Law, Volume 337, Page 435 Copyright ©(1997) Massachusetts Medical Society. Reprinted with permission.

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