The bill, which would expand the state’s medical cannabis program, is scheduled for a vote on the House floor on Monday. Currently, Texas’s Compassionate Use Program only helps patients with intractable epilepsy. House Bill 1365 would expand that list of qualifying conditions, so more people with debilitating conditions would be allowed to access low-THC cannabis.Recently, veterans and veterans groups in Texas have come out in favor of the easing of restrictions. A related piece from Spectrum News points to the role that veterans and veterans groups have played in advancing changes on the medical cannabis front in the state:
An American Legion survey said one in five veterans use marijuana to alleviate a medical or physical condition. Some Texas veterans said the treatment helps them with a number of health issues related to their service.The effort to revise the currently strict cannabis regulations in Texas and to expand use-cases under which the use of cannabis would be allowed under state law was bolstered by a number of community groups and medical cannabis proponents, as shown here in a recent piece written on the matter via original reporting from Marijuana Moment:
David Bass, the director of veterans outreach for Texas NORML and founder of Texas Veterans for Medical Marijuana, said when he returned from Iraq in 2005, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He was also dealing with chronic pain from the injuries he sustained during his past 25 years of service in the U.S. Army.
I have met literally thousands of veterans all over the state of Texas going all the way back to the Korean War, who use cannabis as medicine, but were treated as criminal in our state and we’re not criminals,” Bass said.
Heather Fazio, director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, also expressed gratitude for the advocates who’ve championed the bill and “worked diligently to build support for expanding the Compassionate Use Act.”
“Lawmakers are hearing from thousands of Texans who are desperate for legal access to cannabis so they don’t have to suffer without this medicine or uproot their lives to access it in one of the many other states the respect medical freedom,” Fazio told Marijuana Moment.
Besides expanding the qualifying conditions list, the legislation would also establish a Cannabis Review Board that could add new qualifying conditions and change allowable cannabinoid ratios in medicines available to patients.
“Texas’ limited medical program leaves most patients behind,” Jax Finkel, executive director of Texas NORML, said in a press release. “Those sick Texas cannot afford to wait two more years for the legislature to consider this legislation again. We are requesting that HB 1365 be debated thoughtfully on the floor of the House and then passed so the proposal may be considered by the Senate in time to pass into law.”
https://t.co/kj8wb28Vpi Stay tuned for updates on today – https://t.co/nM62mwWOok#NORML #txlege pic.twitter.com/fgzPMcfD5H — Texas NORML (@TexasNORML) May 6, 2019If approved, Texas would join a growing number of states in the United States that are either easing cannabis restrictions or legalizing cannabis altogether for medicinal and also recreational use. Still, critics point out the proposed changes to regulations may not go far enough:
Stay tuned for more updates on this front.
Today in Austin, the Texas House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on two medical cannabis bills. One is good, but the other does very little to expand access or set Texas on a path toward a functional and meaningful medical marijuana program. https://t.co/wPlNIOuedZ— Veronica (@Veronica2twit) May 6, 2019
Sources referenced in this article:
- Texas House to Vote on Medical Cannabis Expansion (Spectrum News)
- Texas Veterans Seek Access to Medical Marijuana (Spectrum News)
- Medical Marijuana Expansion And Hemp Legalization Advance In Texas Legislature (Marijuana Moment)