GARLAND, Texas – For 22 years, Tim Timmons has fought the pain of multiple sclerosis.

Prescribed medicine couldn’t stop the spasms or help him sleep, he said. Ultimately, Timmons said, relief came in the form of illegal marijuana, which is why he is now pushing for the drug to be legalized.

While 13 states have legalized medical marijuana, Texas isn’t one of them. Timmons said he wants that to change since he feels like he’s been forced to support organized crime.

“I have to support black market crime, but they’re the ones forcing me to do it,” he said. “I don’t want to support organized crime more than anyone would.”

Studies have shown that marijuana can ease muscle spasms and numb pain.

The Texas legislature voted down the last three medical marijuana bills that would have given doctors the authority to prescribe the drug.

In the past, lawmakers defended the ban on medical marijuana by citing the American Medical Associations’ position on the topic. But, after 72 years, that position may be changing. The AMA announced last Tuesday that it’s reversing its policy of classifying the drug as a Schedule 1 narcotic, stating that the issue needs to be reviewed. The announcement was in response to a new medical report by the AMA’s Council on Science and Public Health, which detailed various medical benefits.

Many pharmacists and doctors argue that those benefits can be obtained through legalized drugs that contain the active ingredient in marijuana, THC.

“What they fail to understand is there is THC available in a legal dose called Marinol,” said Donna Barsky, a Plano pharmacist. “It’s a prescription item. All a doctor has to do is write a prescription for it.”

Opponents of medical marijuana say it’s healthier because smoking the drug can pull unhealthy substances into the lungs.

“Marinol just plain doesn’t work, or causes worse situations than you had starting off,” Timmons said.

Another medical marijuana bill is expected to be filled in the Texas legislature in 2011. by Steve Stoler Source.

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