Virginia Nurses Back Pot-by-Prescription

The Virginia Nurses Association (VNA) has called for an end to federal laws which prohibit marijuana's medical use.

The resolution, sponsored by the VNA Council of District Presidents, the Ethics Committee and the Committee on Preserving the Rights of HIV-Infected Persons, received overwhelming support from the organization's Delegate Assembly during VNA's October meeting.

Noting nurses "have an ethical obligation to be advocates for health care" the VNA said it will support "all reasonable efforts to end federal policies which prohibit or unnecessarily restrict marijuana's legal availability for legitimate medical uses."

Mary Lynn Mathre, RN, MSN, a nurse at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, called the VNA resolution, "An important decision which places nurses squarely on the side of seriously ill Americans who could benefit from legal, medically supervised access to marijuana."

Marijuana has medical value in the treatment of several life- and sense-threatening diseases, including cancer, glaucoma and AIDS. Federal law, however, still prohibits marijuana's prescriptive medical use. Only eight Americans have legal access to medical marijuana.

The Virginia Nurses Association is the first major nursing organization to endorse marijuana's prescriptive medical use. The powerful California Medical Association has also called for pot-by-prescription.

"People with cancer and AIDS should receive marijuana in a medically appropriate fashion," said Nurse Mathre. "We believe nursing organizations all over America will follow the Virginia Nurses Association lead and begin to address this problem."

ACT News - Spring 1995