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The American Society of Addiction Medicine, a top addiction treatment organization, is advocating for the legalization of all drugs that are currently illegal in the name of racial equity and public health. The organization, which has always sided with antidrug advocates and opposed even the mildest cannabis reforms, has significantly changed its stance on drug-related policies in the past few years.
While the organization has advocated for decriminalizing marijuana since 2015, it is now urging the decriminalization of all drugs, including the elimination of criminal penalties for paraphernalia, citing the stigma and institutionalized racism that are deeply embedded in the nation’s drug policy.
The group released three policy statements on Feb. 9, 2023, in which it advocated for the elimination of harsh civil and criminal penalties for the possession of drugs and drug accouterments for adult-use as part of a broader set of interlinked legal and public health reforms intended to enhance several carefully chosen outcomes. In addition to legalizing drugs, ASAM argued that lawmakers take into account the possibility of expunging records of prior offenses of this nature so that citizens are not still ostracized for them. The organization cited Portugal’s decriminalization laws and claimed that the reform may result in health improvements based on the available data.
In light of the fact that even minor shifts in the legal distribution of some drugs can greatly increase the risk of addiction, especially for marginalized people, and the current research gaps in drug policy, the group stated that its recommendations purposefully don’t encompass developing a framework for accessing currently illicit drugs for personal use.
Other recommendations made by the organization include making it easier to obtain clemency for those found guilty of drug offenses without violence at the federal and state levels, doing away with the cocaine conviction differential, and funding studies that seek to assess different public health methodologies to the use of drugs with a focus on various drug laws and policies. The association also urged lawmakers to end housing restrictions based on nonviolent, substance-related activities and to abolish requirements for public assistance recipients to submit to drug testing.
The ASAM recommendations represent a substantial change from the organization’s prior stance on drug policies since its establishment in 1954.
In 2012, the group released a report urging doctors to oppose reform calls, but as adult-use cannabis became legal in more states, the group’s policy positions seemed to shift toward a focus on public health. Since then, the association has taken a more active role in promoting marijuana reform, even supporting legislation’s provisions that would federally codify states’ rights to determine their cannabis laws in 2020. However, it has refrained from outright endorsing the legalization of commercial marijuana markets.
ASAM’s push for ending cannabis criminalization is no surprise given that for-profit enterprises such as India Globalization Capital Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) are making plenty of headway in taking cannabis-based formulations through the clinical-development process in a bid to obtain regulatory approval for those novel therapeutics, proving that marijuana does have medicinal potential.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to India Globalization Capital Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/IGC
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