Press Release  | 01/14/2004

Montel Williams Shares Moving Personal Account of Medical Marijuana Use on His Daytime Show

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After Trying All Legal Alternatives, Marijuana Worked Best to Treat Crippling Pain of Multiple Sclerosis
The Alliance Applauds Williams

Instead of keeping silent after being stopped at an airport for his medical marijuana paraphernalia, Montel Williams took the opportunity to educate the public about the important role of this medicine in treating the pain associated with multiple sclerosis. On his January 13th show, he forcefully explained that marijuana was the only medicine that alleviated his pain, after having tried legal painkillers from Oxycontin to Percoset. "There are doctors who have researched this and understand that for the disease that I have, as well as for cancer and AIDS, medical marijuana works," Williams said.

He had been detained in Detroit on November 3rd for a marijuana paraphernalia violation, fueling gossip about his drug use. On today's show, he set the record straight, debunking myths about medical marijuana. He said, "The difference between me being a taxpaying citizen of this country and being at home and drawing off of your money is...; consuming medicinal marijuana in the evening to be able to work the next day."

"Montel smokes marijuana to alleviate his pain so he's able to work. The federal government says that makes him a criminal," said Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "There's nothing compassionate or conservative about that." Nadelmann stresses that people directly affected by the issue shouldn't be the only ones fighting to get patients access to their medicine. "Today was Montel," he said. "Hopefully in the near future Oprah will address this important issue, even if she herself is not a patient."

According to Lynn Zimmer and John P. Morgan's Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts, "Smoked marijuana reduces muscle spasticity from multiple sclerosis, and diminishes tremors in multiple sclerosis patients." On the show, another M.S. sufferer who was identified as Jackie, said, "I've never done any drugs in my life...; At nighttime I couldn't sleep because I was in so much pain. I tried [marijuana] and I could sleep through the night."

Medical marijuana is currently legal in 8 states, not including New York, where Williams resides, but federal authorities continue to raid facilities that provide medical marijuana treatment to patients living with cancer, AIDS and other serious diseases. A recent Supreme Court ruling, however, upholds the right of doctors to discuss medical marijuana with their patients.

Tony Newman at 212-613-8026 or Elizabeth Mendez Berry at 212-613-8036

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