The Illinois Nurses Association
(INA) has joined at least a dozen state nursing associations and the American
Nursing Association in endorsing the use of marijuana as a medicine. In
a position paper submitted by the INA's Assembly on Health Policy on November
23, adopted unanimously by Board of Directors, and now prominently displayed
on the group's web site (http://www.illinoisnurses.org),
the INA declared that it is the position of the Illinois Nurses Association
The Illinois nurses implicitly
rebuked the anti-medical marijuana pronouncements of the likes of drug
czar John Walters or Illinois' own Dr. Andrea Barthwell, his former henchwoman.
"Illinois nurses have an obligation to the public regarding matters of
science and health as well as an obligation to protect the integrity of
the profession," read the position paper. "A basic principle of the American
Nurses Association maintains that nurses participate in the profession's
efforts to protect the public from misinformation and misrepresentation.
Therefore, the Illinois Nurses Association joins the Institute of Medicine
(1999), the ANA (2003), and twelve Constituent Member Associations, the
American Public Health Association, and the American Academy of Family
Physicians, among other organizations in recognizing the value of science
over cultural misrepresentation and supports patients requiring safe access
to therapeutic cannabis."
Support continued research in
controlled investigational trials on the therapeutic efficacy of cannabis,
including methods of administration.
Support the right of patients
to have safe access to therapeutic cannabis under appropriate prescriber
Support and encourage the education
of registered nurses regarding current, evidence based use of therapeutic
Support the ability of health
care providers to discuss and/or recommend the therapeutic use of cannabis
without the threat of intimidation or penalization.
Support legislation to remove
criminal penalties including arrest and imprisonment for bona fide patients
and prescribers of therapeutic cannabis.
Support federal and state legislation
to include cannabis classification as a Schedule III drug.
The position paper was authored
and presented to the INA Board of Directors by Paula N. Kagan PhD, RN --
and therein lies a tale. As Patients Out of Time (http://www.medicalcannabis.org)
spokesman Al Byrne told DRCNet, Kagan attended the group's Third National
Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics at the University of Virginia
in Charlottesville in May.
A grant from the Peter Lewis
funds controlled by the Marijuana Policy Project enabled Patients Out of
Time to invite Dr. Kagan to the conference on a scholarship, and when the
INA heard about the forum, it agreed to kick in for part of her expenses,
said Byrne. "The total cost of having the INA join in support of medical
marijuana was $ 238.72." The Fourth National Clinical Conference will be
held in Santa Barbara in April, and Byrne is looking for other political
or health care organizations that might be open to sending a representative.
The Illinois nurses gave
a shout-out to Patients Out of Time, mentioning two of its board members
by name: "It is important to note that the impetus to promote the scientific
and scholarly agenda on cannabis has been lead by two American nurses,
Mary Lynn Mathre, MSN, RN, CARN (Virginia Nurses Association) and Melanie
Dreher, PhD, RN, FAAN (Iowa Nurses Association) and has facilitated the
international dialogue currently taking place among scientists, providers,
patients, and legal experts," the document noted.
The INA is only the latest
of dozens of medical organizations that have stepped up for medical marijuana.
For a complete list, visit http://www.medicalcannabis.com/PDF/Grouplist.pdf
-- END --
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