Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Published: Sunday, February 13, 2005
Copyright: 2005 The Dallas Morning News
Medical science is producing evidence that ingredients in marijuana can
ease chronic pain. Numerous studies show that marijuana helps some
cancer and other seriously ill patients relieve chronic pain and control
nausea and vomiting.
Marijuana use, however, is illegal in Texas, which means that even if a
doctor believes in its medicinal benefits, a doctor can't prescribe it
nor can a patient legally obtain or use it.
Let's be clear on this point. This newspaper is not advocating the
decriminalization of marijuana. We are advocating a thoughtful public
policy discussion to allow patients facing chronic pain legal access to
this alternative treatment.
Unfortunately, the only bill in the Texas House would add to the
confusion on this subject. It would change the state's health and safety
code to allow a person charged with possession of marijuana to be
allowed to show evidence in court that a licensed physician recommended
the drug as a treatment. While we think a discussion of medical
marijuana use in Texas is long overdue, this bill from state Rep.
Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin, is the wrong approach.
The bill provides false hope for patients and inadequate guidance for
doctors and law enforcement agencies. A patient could still be convicted
on illegal drug charges because the law doesn't legalize the use of
medical marijuana. In addition, the bill doesn't indicate the amount of
marijuana a patient could possess or how the patient could legally
Medical research and public opinion are changing. The American Medical
Association has urged research to deliver the benefits without
subjecting physicians and patients to criminal sanctions.
Ten states also have laws that protect from arrest or jail those
patients who possess and grow their own medical marijuana with a
doctor's approval. Some states register doctors and patients and provide
ID cards so police officers can determine who uses marijuana for medical
And last year a Scripps Howard Texas Poll found that 75 percent of
Texans favored legislation that would allow people with cancer and other
serious illnesses to use their own marijuana for medical purposes as
long as their physician approves.
The Naishtat measure isn't the right answer. The state needs a sound
policy for the future, and lawmakers should start asking the right
Related Articles & Web Site:
Texans For Medical Marijuana
Medical Pot Law Backers Hopeful
Pot Advocates Need Lobby
Doctor, Criminologist, Patients Support MMJ Use
Poll Finds 75% of Texans Support Med Marijuana
New Group Backs Medical Marijuana in Texas