Medical Pot Bill

RECEIVED Tue., Feb. 8, 2005

Dear Editor,
    I urge all Texans to support HB 658, a medical marijuana bill authored by Democratic Rep. Elliott Naishtat and joint authored by Republican Chairman Terry Keel ["Naishtat Files Medi-Mari Bill," News, Feb. 4]. This bill will protect doctors from being investigated solely on grounds that they discussed marijuana as a treatment option with their patients.
    The bill would also enable Texas jurors to hear evidence supporting an affirmative defense of medical need in marijuana cases, which is currently not allowed.
    I founded both NORML and HEMP organizations in San Antonio in the early Nineties. I heard many stories of both doctors and nurses smuggling marijuana to cancer and other patients. Marijuana was the only medicine that helped these people from their suffering. They broke the law knowing that this medicine was the only thing that would help them. I had so many sick people calling me asking where and how they could obtain legal medical marijuana. I was heartbroken to have to tell them that our government didn't care about them and would rather arrest them.
    In the Nineties, San Antonio NORML staged a protest as the local DEA HQ. We presented a demand to the head of the DEA that marijuana be legalized for medical use. They locked their doors on us, and tried to hide. They were afraid of their citizens demanding truth and justice for the ill.
    We are now seeing polls both locally and nationally that show that our citizens support legalizing marijuana for medical use. I urge all our citizens to contact their state representatives to support this bill. You can contact Texans for Medical Marijuana at 512/220-9209 or at www.texansformedicalmarijuana.org.
Julian Ward
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