Paralyzed woman supports decriminalization of medicinal marijuana

February 02, 2005

Allison Toepperwein, News 8 Austin

Rep. Elliot Naishtat, D-Austin, filed a bill Friday to allow doctors in Texas to prescribe marijuana for medical purposes.

The controversial measure's most outspoken followers are Texans for Medical Marijuana.

But there are others who quietly hope the law goes into effect.

'Marcia' injured her spinal cord in a car wreck 16 years ago that left her paralyzed. While she can't feel her legs, she does feel pain.

'Some of the medications they give me - believe it or not - cause internal bleeding,' Marcia said.

Because of those harsh side effects, Marcia began tying marijuana to alleviate her pain.

'It makes an awfully big difference in the quality of my life,' she said.

Naishtat's bill would prevent people like Marcia from being charged with possession of marijuana. It also frees doctors from any criminal ramifications if they discuss the alternative with patients.

If the bill passes, Texas would be the 11th state to allow marijuana for medicinal purposes.

'This is not a broad legalization. This is not saying marijuana is OK as a recreational devise. That's not at all what we're talking about. This about people who are in pain,' Noelle Davis of Texans for Medical Marijuana said.

Naishtat believes the bill would free people with legitimate medical problems of the pain of worry.

'People are wasting away and marijuana is the only thing that allows them to keep food down or put a little weight back on,' Davis said.

Marcia said she never even used marijuana until the accident.

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