The American Medical Association (AMA) has become unmoored in history, seemingly unaware that both racism and the War on Drugs are no longer tolerated by society. A confluence of recent activities and events having to do with their stance on medical cannabis puts them in a poor light and throws into question whether doctors — or patients — are at all served by this group. As a practicing primary care physician for twenty years, a medical cannabis expert, an Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical, a Board Member for the group Doctors For Cannabis Regulation, and a former Associate Director of the Massachusetts Physician Health Program, I feel that a spotlight on some of the AMA’s recent activities will show how far they, as an organization, have strayed from their fundamental dictate to ‘do no harm’.
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Peter Grinspoon, MD, is a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Instructor at Harvard Medical School. He is the author of the memoir Free Refills: A Doctor Confronts His Addiction. He spent two years as an Associate Director of the Massachusetts Physician Health Service helping physicians with addiction and mental health issues. He graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy with honors from Swarthmore College. He then spent five years as a Campaign Director for the environmental group Greenpeace before entering medical school at Boston University School of Medicine, where he graduated with honors. He completed his residency at Harvard’s Brigham and Woman’s Hospital, in the primary care program. He has been on national television including NBC, C-SPAN, and Fox and Friends, and his writings have been published in The Nation and The Los Angeles Times. He is a Contributing Editor to Harvard Health Publications.