Dear Editor, This year Rep. Elliott Naishtat filed medical-marijuana bill House Bill 164, offering medical patients who have their doctors' recommendations to use marijuana an affirmative defense in court. Numerous prestigious medical organizations support legal medical-marijuana access for the seriously ill, including the American Public Health Association, the American Nurses Association, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Studies have shown that marijuana relieves debilitating symptoms including nausea, appetite loss, and severe pain. It has been shown to increase the chances that HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C patients will stay on the life-saving medications. It also treats the patients’ common symptoms of depression. Many of the legal alternatives proposed by opponents of medical marijuana are too expensive, too addictive, and have too many side effects to be good medicine for all patients. These are all concerns for patients, and all options should be on the table when the patient makes the final choice. Ultimately, the decision of what medicine is best for an illness should be left up to the patient and the doctor, not to the government or corporate interests. A 2004 Scripps Howard poll showed 75% approval for medical marijuana among the 900 Texan respondents. All Texans should know about this important bill. I want to encourage your readers to write their representatives and urge them to vote “yes” (or “no,” if that is the case) on HB 164.