ANAHEIM, Calif. – California’s largest industry group for doctors is calling for the legalization of marijuana even as it maintains that the drug has few proven health benefits.

Trustees of the California Medical Association adopted the new stance at its annual meeting Friday in Anaheim, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

Dr. Donald Lyman, who wrote the group’s new policy, said doctors are increasingly frustrated by the state’s medical marijuana law, which allows use with a doctor’s recommendation. Physicians are put in the uncomfortable position of having to decide whether to recommend a drug that’s illegal under federal law, the Sacramento doctor said.

“It is an open question whether cannabis is useful or not,” he said. “That question can only be answered once it is legalized and more research is done.”

The CMA acknowledges health risks associated with marijuana use and proposes regulation similar to alcohol and tobacco, but the group said the consequences of criminalization outweigh the dangers.

The federal government considers cannabis a drug with no medical use. The CMA wants the White House to reclassify it to help promote further rstudy of its medical potential. Earlier this year, the Obama administration turned down a request to reclassify marijuana. That decision is being appealed in federal court by legalization advocates.

Lyman called current laws a “failed public health policy.”

But critics within the medical community said that association leaders did not consider the broader implications of legalizing marijuana.

“It’s going to lead to more use, and that, to me, is a public health concern,” Dr. Robert DuPont, an M.D. and a professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School, told the Times.