marijuanaEase off on marijuana, a national doctor group is telling the feds.

The American College of Physicians, 124,000 members strong, has issued a 13-page position paper asking the federal government to drop marijuana from its classification as a substance considered to have no medicinal value and a high chance of abuse, reports the Baltimore Sun. (Read this Health Blog post for one doctor’s high opinion of medical marijuana.)

“They’ve said essentially that the federal government has it all wrong,” Bruce Mirken, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, told the Health Blog. The ACP, which represents internists, is the largest physician group to date to ask for such a classification change, he says.

The Sun reports that the ACP’s declaration could pressure legislators and regulators to consider pushing for the schedule change. The federal government thus far has resisted fully exploring the medical benefits of marijuana, but a dozen states have legalized medical use. The ACP paper makes a broad case for easing restrictions on marijuana research and says that doctors and patients in these states where medical marijuana is legal shouldn’t be penalized under federal law. (Click on PDF image to read the position paper.)

But at least some in the government disagree vehemently with the idea of legalizing medical marijuana. “What this would do is drag us back to 14th-century medicine,” Berta Madras, the deputy director for demand reduction at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy told the Sun. “It’s so arcane.”