Newsbrief: American Nurses Association Endorses Access to Medical Marijuana 7/3/03

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Nine years of work by Patients Out of Time (, a nonprofit organization devoted to the medical marijuana issue, paid off last week when the American Nurses Association (ANA) adopted a resolution calling for safe access to medical marijuana for patients under appropriate doctor's supervision. The ANA now joins dozens of other health professional organizations, including the National Society of Nurses on Addiction and the American Public Health Association, in calling for eased access to medical marijuana.

Efforts to get the ANA to adopt such a position began in 1994, when Patients Out of Time president Mary Lynn Mathre, RN, MSN, CARN, began meeting with leaders of the Virginia Nurses Association to discuss the scientific merits of therapeutic cannabis. Expanding beyond Mathre's home state, Patients Out of Time managed to convince state nursing associations in 11 states to adopt positions supporting medical marijuana. In 1995, the New York State Nurses Association signed on and asked the ANA to adopt the Virginia policy. The ANA declined that year, but this year the New York nurses again submitted a medical marijuana resolution, and this time it passed.

It passed after Mathre addressed the ANA convention in Washington, DC. "Nurses provide direct care to patients and we are above all else patient advocates," Mathre said. "This resolution is not a policy change that is in any form a departure from our professional goals and ethics. This resolution in fact validates our commitment to the patient and our communal commitment to providing the most appropriate care."

The measure overwhelmingly adopted by the nurses resolves that the ANA will:

  • Support research in controlled investigational trials on the therapeutic efficacy of marijuana/cannabis, including alternative methods of administration.
  • Support the right of patients to have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis under appropriate prescriber supervision.
  • Support the ability of health care providers to discuss and/or recommend the medicinal use of marijuana 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 marijuana/cannabis.
  • Support federal and state legislation to exclude marijuana/ cannabis from classification as a Schedule I drug.
  • Support and encourage the education of registered nurses regarding current, evidence-based therapeutic use of marijuana/ cannabis.

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Issue #294, 7/3/03 Editorial: Not Just in Texas | US Appeals Court Kills DEA Interpretive Rule Banning Hemp Foods, But More Battles Remain | British Cannabis Reform Delayed, Revised to Allow Arrests After Cops Complain | Canada Approves Safe Injection Site for Vancouver | Newsbrief: US Suspends Military Aid to Colombia, Others in International Criminal Court Scrap | Newsbrief: Colombian Court Orders Fumigation Halt -- US, Colombia Say No Way | Newsbrief: "No Legalization," Says Mexico Anti-Drug Official | Newsbrief: Another Pain Doc in the Drug War's Sights | Newsbrief: American Nurses Association Endorses Access to Medical Marijuana | Newsbrief: Connecticut Lawmakers Call for Sentencing Reform | Newsbrief: Delaware Cuts Sentences for Some Drug Crimes | Newsbrief: Poll Finds California Latinos Oppose Jailing Low-Level Drug Offenders | Bill Maher Benefit Event Monday Night, 7/7, Los Angeles | The Reformer's Calendar

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