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The American Medical Association’s (AMA) House of Delegates voted this week to reaffirm its opposition to marijuana legalization, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The group said the federal government’s approach to reducing illicit drug use through supply reduction and enforcement has been ineffective, the magazine noted. For people who possess marijuana for personal use, the AMA called for “public health based strategies, rather than incarceration.”

The AMA voted to confirm its position that “cannabis is a dangerous drug and as such is a public health concern.” It deleted a position, held since 1977, backing “modification of state law to reduce the severity of penalties for possession of marijuana.” Instead, the group supported “modification of state and federal laws to emphasize public health based strategies to address and reduce cannabis use.”

Former Representative Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, who co-founded the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said in a statement, “The American Medical Association took a bold step today, and they should be commended. By explicitly rejecting calls to neutralize their anti-legalization position, they are sending a loud and powerful message to state and local decision makers, the Federal government, and the general public.”


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