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Former Surgeon General Among Physicians Teaming Up to Launch Nation’s First Organization of Doctors Formed to Advocate for the Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis for Adult Use


Statements below from Dr. H. Westley Clark, former director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment; Dr. Chris Beyrer, founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights; Dr. David Lewis, founder of Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies; and Dr. David Nathan, founder and president of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jocelyn Elders, integrative medicine pioneer Dr. Andrew Weil, and professors from some of the country’s top medical schools are teaming up to launch the nation’s first organization of doctors formed to advocate for the legalization and regulation of cannabis for adult use.

Doctors for Cannabis Regulation will hold a teleconference TODAY at 2 p.m. ET to discuss the organization’s plans and answer questions from the media. RSVP to [email protected] to receive instructions for participating.

Statement from Dr. H. Westley Clark, former director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment:

“The potential for marijuana abuse is a serious issue, especially among our nation’s youth. And especially at a time when very powerful strains of cannabis and concentrates are available that simply didn’t exist in the past. But the consequences of being convicted under current marijuana laws are lifelong and severe, and it is beyond dispute that African Americans and Hispanics are disproportionately affected. Legalizing and regulating cannabis goes a long way towards addressing the incarceration epidemic in this country, as well as enabling research into the public health ramifications of this wide variety of cannabis.”

Statement from Dr. David Lewis, Founder of Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies and Professor Emeritus of Community Health and Medicine, Brown University Alpert Medical School:

“The medical profession should join with the public to design a safe and effective public health approach to legalizing marijuana use. Our over-reliance on the criminal justice system has caused needless harm to thousands of families without meetings its goals. The public already ‘gets it’ that the war on drugs has failed. As always, we physicians are obligated to explain all the scientifically-proven risks of using marijuana to our patients, their families and to the public.”

Statement from Dr. Chris Beyrer, founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights:

“As physicians we have a professional obligation to do no harm. The prohibitionist policies of the last five decades have directly and indirectly contributed to lethal violence, disease, discrimination, forced displacement, injustice and the undermining of people’s right to health. Current cannabis laws are based on ideas about drug use and drug dependence that are not scientifically grounded. They need to change, and doctors must participate in that process as stewards of the public health.”

Statement from Dr. David Nathan, founder and president of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation:

“Doctors for Cannabis Regulation is an organization whose time has come. Just as public support for cannabis legalization has been growing for the past 40 years, physicians are now increasingly willing to voice their pro-legalization views. Because no national organization has existed to represent them, however, there has often been a vacant seat at the table when legalization and regulation are debated. DFCR is a clarion call for physicians everywhere who want to promote the public health by advocating for smart government regulation of cannabis.”

WHAT: Teleconference with leaders of the nation’s first organization of doctors calling for the legalization and regulation of cannabis for adult use

Dr. H. Westley Clark, former director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment

Dr. David Lewis, Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Community Health at Brown University

Dr. Chris Beyrer, founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights

Dr. David Nathan, DFCR board president, Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Dr. Julie Holland, former Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology at the New York University School of Medicine

Dr. Malik Burnett, resident physician, Johns Hopkins General Preventive Medicine program

Brian C. Muraresku, DFCR Executive Director

Doctors for Cannabis Regulation is a national organization of physicians that advocates for the legalization and regulation of cannabis for adult use. For more information, visit


Brian C. Muraresku, Executive Director

202-930-0097, [email protected]


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