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October 2021

J Psychoactive Drugs. 1998 Apr-Jun; 30(2): 149-53.

Proposition 215: a dilemma.

Mead A.

California Medical Association, San Francisco, USA.

The author describes the scope of California's Proposition 215 and explains the legal and scientific controversies that surround its enactment. The federal government's response to the law (including its threats to any physicians who might recommend medical marijuana to patients) and the litigation that ensued are outlined. The author recounts the complicated role played by the California Medical Association during this time, as it sought to adhere to the principles of the scientific process while also attempting to resist improper governmental intrusion into the physician-patient relationship. The legal impact of the federal Controlled Substances Act on the availability of marijuana for either research or therapeutic purposes is described. The conflict between Proposition 215 and federal law is explained, and author offers a legal analysis of the extent to which physicians have free speech rights under the federal constitution to discuss and recommend the medical use of marijuana to patients. The California Medical Association's efforts to address and reconcile the competing interests, culminating in written legal guidelines for physicians, are described in detail.

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