Med Marijuana OK, Says Texas Medical Association

May 20, 2004

Jordan Smith, Austin Chronicle

On May 14, during its annual state convention, the Texas Medical Association unanimously – and without discussion – adopted a new policy recommendation supporting the right of doctors and patients to discuss medical marijuana as a viable treatment option, without fear of recrimination by authorities.

The TMA delegates also reaffirmed the association's call for further research on medicinal marijuana, 'including well-controlled studies in patients who have serious pain-related conditions,' according to the report of the TMA's Council on Scientific Affairs, which was approved by the TMA delegates. 'Paramount is support for physicians to discuss with patients any treatment option available and to do so without recrimination for the physician and/or patient.'

Noelle Davis, executive director of the fledgling group Texans for Medical Marijuana, was thrilled. 'The most important thing is that they acknowledge that marijuana is a viable treatment option,' she said. 'This is most important because the federal government says that medical marijuana is a cruel hoax. So when this body passes [this recommendation] without a peep, that tells me it is a viable option.'

The quickly adopted policy recommendation wasn't really a surprise, says TMA spokesman Brent Annear, because doctors 'vehemently' protect their right to discuss any topic of importance to their patients. 'It's really a patient's free speech issue,' he said. Still, approval by the nearly 40,000 member group – the country's largest and, arguably, most powerful state medical association – could be politically potent ammunition for TMM as it pushes for the passage of a state law protecting medical marijuana patients. 'This is absolutely a step in the right direction,' Davis said.

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