Weed Watch

Naishtat Files Medi-Mari Bill

On Jan. 28, state Rep. Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin, filed the much anticipated medi-pot bill, HB 658, which would create an affirmative defense against prosecution of patients who are using marijuana on a doctor's advice to ameliorate the symptoms of serious, chronic illnesses. "There is ample evidence that marijuana is beneficial to people suffering from the chronic and debilitating pain associated with cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis," among other illnesses, Naishtat said in a press release. "Under my bill a patient would have to prove in court that he or she was suffering from a bona fide medical condition, and that a physician had discussed or recommended marijuana as an option to alleviate the symptoms of the medical condition." Additionally, the bill would bar law enforcement or any other government entity from initiating administrative, civil, or criminal investigations into doctors who discuss marijuana as a treatment option with their patients. Citing last year's Texas Poll, which reported that 75% of Texans support medi-pot legislation, Naishtat said that the time has come for a "full debate on this issue." Medi-pot backers Texans for Medical Marijuana will descend on the Capitol on Feb. 17, for a full day of lobbying in support of Naishtat's bill. For more info or to get involved, see www.texansformedicalmarijuana.org.

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