Walters v. Conant: Marcus Conant, M.D. - Lead Plaintiff
Dr. Marcus Conant is a physician who has practiced medicine for 33 years in San Francisco. Dr. Conant is the Medical Director of the Conant Medical Group, one of the largest private AIDS practices in the United States. He is a Professor at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco and is the author or co-author of over 70 publications on treatment of AIDS. He is responsible for dozens of presentations, book chapters, news articles, lectures, and legislative testimony on the same subject. Dr. Conant received his medical degree from Duke University in 1961.
After his residency, Dr. Conant specialized in dermatology, a practice area that led him to identify the first cluster of patients with Kaposi's sarcoma, a now well-recognized symptom of AIDS. Dr. Conant stands out as one of the pioneers in addressing HIV and AIDS. As recounted in the book and film, And the Band Played On, Dr. Conant recognized the pattern of AIDS transmission among gay men in San Francisco and initiated some of the first steps to control the growing epidemic. In 1981, he founded a Kaposi's sarcoma clinic, one of the nation's first specialized AIDS practices. Currently, he and his colleagues provide primary care for over 5,000 HIV infected patients, including approximately 2,000 patients with active AIDS. His clinical experience has demonstrated the efficacy of marijuana in reversing the devastating effects of AIDS Wasting Syndrome, preventing the literal starvation of some of his patients.
Dr. Conant currently treats at least 100 patients for whom he believes marijuana is a medically appropriate form of treatment for nausea and loss of appetite in AIDS patients. Dr. Conant is aware of the government's threats against physicians who provide information to patients regarding the potential risks or benefits of the medical use of marijuana. Due to fear caused by these threats, Dr. Conant felt compelled and coerced into censoring his conversations with patients, curtailing severely the information he felt able to provide to patients regarding the risks and benefits of medical marijuana.