Pubdate: Fri, 28 Mar 2008
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2008 Amarillo Globe-News
Author: Nicole King and Sean Thomas, Amarillo Globe-News
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


Says He Used Marijuana Medicinally

A man acquitted of marijuana possession in an Amarillo court Tuesday
said he's going to try prescription drugs to combat his nausea and
vomiting. Tim Stevens, 53, was arrested in October by Amarillo police
and charged with possessing less than four grams of marijuana. He has
Human Immunodeficiency Virus and says he uses the marijuana for
medicinal purposes.

An Amarillo jury acquitted Stevens, who suffers from nausea and
cyclical vomiting syndrome, which causes chronic vomiting.

Stevens said he'd never been in trouble with the law before and was
pleased with the verdict.

"I feel good in the sense that I think that it's pretty clear the
public is ahead of the government. There are some compassionate uses
of marijuana," he said.

Attorney Jeff Blackburn, who represented Stevens, said he hopes the
case will set a far-reaching "political precedent."

Stevens' defense centered around the necessity defense - the necessity
that Stevens uses marijuana for medical purposes to avoid imminent
harm was of greater importance than the law being broken, Blackburn

"I think this could easily represent a trend, and I strongly, strongly
hope other medical marijuana users will get aggressive lawyers and
fight any charges that come their way," Blackburn said. "If jurors in
a conservative part of a conservative state are willing to give a guy
like Tim a break, I bet they are in other parts of the state."

Potter County Attorney Scott Brumley said Stevens had enough marijuana
to roll eight joints.

"Had this guy been in his home using it, it is reasonable to say this
issue wouldn't have come up," Brumley said. "This guy isn't the first
one who has come to court with a sad story to supposedly excuse
criminal conduct.

"In the end, our position was and continues to be the law doesn't
allow for medicinal marijuana. ... Until the legislature decides
different, our job is not to decide what the law should be."

Dr. Steve Jenison testified in Stevens' case as an ordinary citizen on
the use of medicinal marijuana.

"A lot of these people who are using it medically smoke a really,
really small amount of it and derive a benefit from those small doses.
Most of them aren't at it to get high," said Jenison, medical director
for the New Mexico Department of Health's Infectious Disease Bureau.

Stevens said he is going to get a prescription for a pharmaceutical
version of marijuana known as Marinol, though he's doubtful it will
stay in his system long enough to work.

"Hopefully, I won't have to take something like that every day," he
said. "I will abide by Texas law or relocate to New Mexico, where ...
(it's) available to people like me."
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