The American Medical Association announced last week that it has approved a resolution calling on states that have legalized or criminalized cannabis to clear records of arrests and convictions for marijuana-related crimes that are no longer illegal. AMA, the largest association of medical professionals in the United States, announced on June 14 that it had officially adopted a policy change at the House of Representatives’ annual meeting in Chicago last week.
In a statement, AMA states that the goal of policy change is to “introduce fairness and impartiality into the rapidly changing efforts to legalize cannabis.” The group states that at least 18 states have legalized cannabis for adult use and more than 30 have passed legislation permitting the use of medical weeds. However, in many states, those arrested or convicted of cannabis crimes before the legislation was enacted still bear the burden associated with criminal records.
“This affects not only young people seeking a medical career, but also many other people who are denied housing, education, loans and employment opportunities.” AMA Councilor Scott Ferguson, MD said “It’s not just fair to ruin life on the basis of conviction-causing behavior, but it is then legalized or non-criminalized.”
AMA further states that even if arrest and conviction records are cleared, affected people often face incidental consequences such as disqualification from public benefit eligibility such as health insurance programs. Said. The group also called for automation of the erasure process and acknowledged that relief often involves complex or costly measures by those seeking to clear the record.
“Erasing is not a panacea,” Ferguson said. “This can be a time-consuming and costly process. Automatic erasure will free people from having to understand and pay for the bureaucratic steps needed to seal a criminal record. “
The new AMA policy also requires probation, parole, or other court-ordered oversight of cannabis-related crimes that would later be denialized or legalized. The group pointed out that the cannabis ban law was not applied fairly, and members of the historically marginalized community were struck by law enforcement and had the associated negative effects of the war on drugs. The AMA added that blacks are 3.6 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana crimes, despite data consistently showing that blacks and whites consume about the same percentage of cannabis.
In addition to asking the state government to clear the cannabis record, AMA will discuss the clearing with relevant medical education and licensing authorities such as the American Medical College Association, the Graduate School of Medical Education Accreditation Council, and the Federation of State Medical Commissions. Stated. “To determine the impact of disclosure of cannabis-related crimes on medical school, place of residence, or license application.”
AMA still opposes cannabis legalization
Despite support for clearing the record of cannabis convictions in the states that enacted marijuana policy reform, AMA reaffirmed the group’s opposition to further efforts to legalize cannabis. AMA cites the potential health consequences of cannabis use and offers several reasons for maintaining a pot ban.
“AMA continues to oppose the legalization of cannabis,” the association wrote in a statement. “The legalization of cannabis for adults is associated with increased road fatalities, exposure to toxicology (including infants), emergency department visits, and cannabis-related hospitalizations. In addition, in pregnant people. Increased cannabis use is of greatest concern. “
AMA has not participated to promote weed legalization efforts, but of the group Published policy on cannabis “Supporting public health-based strategies rather than imprisonment in the treatment of individuals with cannabis for personal use”, “Impact of cannabis legalization and non-criminalization to promote public health and public safety” Encourage research on. “
The last updated cannabis policy in 2020 was a resource for AMA to “work with other health agencies to counsel and educate patients about the impact of cannabis on human health and the use of cannabis and cannabinoids. To develop. “