Medical Marijuana - Law & Policy - 1-4-12
(Ethics of Recommending Medical Cannabis to Patients) "Portions of the American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics, Opinion 1.02 – The Relation of Law and Ethics reads, 'Ethical values and legal principles are usually closely related, but ethical obligations typically exceed legal duties. In some cases, the law mandates unethical conduct.' 'In exceptional circumstances of unjust laws, ethical responsibilities should supersede legal obligations.' An 'exceptional circumstance of unjust laws' may be interpreted as the federal ban on cannabis for medical use. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia found the federal government’s prohibition on prescribing and using medicinal cannabis so unjust as to create laws in direct violation of federal statute. Therefore, one could surmise that prescribing cannabis for the purpose of harm reduction is ethical even though it violates federal law. In addition, Hayry suggests that the idea of 'freedom' also provides an ethical reason for prescribing cannabis and he writes, '… whatever the legal situation, respect for the freedom of the individual would imply that requests like this (for medicinal cannabis) should be granted, either by health professionals, or by society as a whole.'"
Collen, Mark, "Prescribing Cannabis for Harm Reduction," Harm Reduction Journal (London, United Kingdom: January 2012) Vol. 9, Issue 1, p. 5.