In a new article appearing in next month’s American Journal of Public Health, a number of leading doctors and health experts, including former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, are calling for the total legalization of cannabis.
“The war on marijuana exacerbates poverty, which is strongly correlated with— among other problems—reduced access to health care,” Elders writes. “The unjust prohibition of marijuana has done more damage to public health than has marijuana itself.”
According to Marijuana Moment, Elders has advocated for drug reform since serving as Surgeon General under the Clinton administration. In 1993, she said that she believed that the country would “markedly reduce our crime rate if drugs were legalized.” Twenty-four years later, Elders notes that “times are changing. In 2017, even physicians who oppose legalization generally believe that marijuana should be decriminalized, reducing penalties for users while keeping the drug illegal.”
Elders, along with co-authors Dr. David L. Nathan and former director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration H. Westley Clark,…