Newsbrief: Illinois Nurses Join Growing List of Nursing Groups Supporting Medical Marijuana 12/24/04

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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 to:

  • 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 supervision.
  • Support and encourage the education of registered nurses regarding current, evidence based use of therapeutic cannabis.
  • 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 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."

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 online.

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Issue #368 -- 12/24/04

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Editorial: Jury Manipulation | Conflict Over Pain Management Heats Up as Mainstream Medical Groups Wake Up | In Run-Up to New European Union Drug Strategy, European Parliament Adopts Report Critical of Continued Drug War | Young Reformers Give Drug Czar Hard Time at Monitoring the Future Press Conference | DRCNet Book Review: Under The Influence: The Disinformation Guide to Drugs, Edited by Preston Peet (The Disinformation Company Ltd., 2004, 312 pages, $24.95) | Legalization Talk | Newsbrief: Senior Citizens Support Medical Marijuana, AARP Poll Finds | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Newsbrief: From Federal Prison, Martha Stewart Calls for Sentencing Reform | Newsbrief: Anachronistic Law Could Hamper Hemp in South Africa | Newsbrief: Dutch Open First Retirement Home for Junkies | Newsbrief: Hungarian High Court Overturns Drug Reforms | Newsbrief: Intelligence Bill Yields New Federal Drug Fighter Position | Newsbrief: First Cannabis-Based Prescription Drug Wins Preliminary Approval in Canada | Newsbrief: Canadian Study to Examine Safety of Medical Marijuana | Newsbrief: Illinois Nurses Join Growing List of Nursing Groups Supporting Medical Marijuana | Media Scan: Reason on Pain, Cockburn on Webb, Grits for Breakfast, Faith Under Fire, BJS | This Week in History | Apply Now to Intern at Drcnet! | Job Opportunity at MAPS | DrugWarMarket.Com Seeking Information, Affiliations, Link Exchanges | The Reformer's Calendar

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