Would forbid prosecution of anybody who has pot on a doctor's orders.
By Jim Forsyth
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
An Austin lawmaker has proposed legalizing marijuana in Texas, if the marijuana has bee prescribed by a doctor for medical purposes, 1200 WOAI news has learned. It would be the most liberal medical marijuana bill in the country.
Democrat Eliot Haishtat's proposal would forbid any law enforcement officer from arresting or charging a person for possession of marijuana, if the person 'possesses marijuana as a patient of a physician licensed to practice medicine in this state pursuant to the recommendation of that physician for the amelioration of the symptoms of effects of a bona fide medical condition.'
"This would not legalize the use of marijuana or any other drug," Naishtat told 1200 WOAI news. "This is specifically related to the medicinal use of marijuana for a person with a bona fide medical condition."
Under Naishtat's bill, you wouldn't even have to be sick to legally smoke pot. The bill simply says a person would require a 'written or oral statement' from a doctor that 'thje potential benefits of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for a particular patient.'
But the Texas Medical Association says it does not believe that marijuana is a legitimate narcotic for the treatment of disease or disease symptoms, and TMA President Dr. Josie Williams says her organization will not support Naishtat's proposal.
"We have no idea what dosage marijuana would be needed," she says. "There seems to be a huge variation in the potency and quality of what patients would actually get. There is no information on how the impact of marijuana on a patient varies with the patient's weight," she said.
She said marijuana would still be illegal under federal law, and even though Naishtat's bill protects doctors from state prosecution, they would still be breaking the law.
Dr. Williams said there would be no controls on where the patient would get the marijuana, allowing the patient to obtain it from street dealers.
"It is still very dangerous to use it in an over the street, illegal way," Dr. Williams said. The bill does not set up any marijuana production or distribution activities, meaning patients with marijuana 'prescriptions' would have to buy the drug on the illegal market.
Doctors and activists have long argued about the value of marijuana, hashish, and other herbal substances in the treatment of disease and the lessening of pain.
A handful of states, including California, have attempted to legalize medical marijuana, with mixed results.
Dr. Williams says she wants to see a full and peer reviewed examination of the medical use of marijuana conducted by the American Medical Association before she would support any effort to consider marijuana to be a medically valuable substance.
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