About AIDS

Nevada votes for medical pot, but federal law prevails

Nevada passed a law in June allowing seriously ill patients to use marijuana for medical purposes. The statute calls for the state government to create a registry for patients whose doctors recommend the use of marijuana. The state will apply for federal government permission to sponsor medical research on marijuana for the treatment of pain, nausea, and other symptoms of AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, and other chronic or terminal diseases. The patient's use of cannabis under the protocol will then be exempted from legal prosecution.

Despite its position as a Republican-controlled conservative state, Nevadans voted overwhelmingly to amend the state constitution to authorize marijuana use by the seriously ill. In addition, the new law downgrades possession of small amounts of marijuana from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Meanwhile, last week the Canadian government announced that it is funding a peer-reviewed clinical trial on the therapeutic uses of cannabis on diseases other than HIV/AIDS and multiple sclerosis. Canada recently expanded the use of medical marijuana, so that people with terminal or debilitating diseases can possess and cultivate the plant.

But here in the United States, the Senate continues to dither away on the health/human services bill. So far Republicans have the upper hand, blocking the way of states in applying their own judgment to the issue. And this from a party that says it values state and local decisions over federal dictates.

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