Texas is moving in a forward direction when it comes to expanding its extremely limited medical marijuana program. Two bills to expand the program have passed the House. Both bills had overwhelming support.
House Bill 1365 passed with a vote of 128-20 on May 7, The Dallas Morning News reports. House Bill 3703 passed with a vote of 133-10 on May 8. The Senate holds the fate of these bills in their hands now.
Rep. Eddie Lucio said, “There are countless Texans enduring insurmountable pain as they battle diseases like cancer, autism and PTSD. This is undoubtedly a complex bill, members. But it has taken countless hours of time to develop a system we believe would work best to serve those in need. By combining needed patient protections and a comprehensive research component, this bill provides a framework to improve the lives of countless Texans in the near future.”
Representative Stephanie Klick, who is also a nurse, seeks to add multiple sclerosis to the list of qualifying conditions allowed for medical marijuana use in Texas. Her legislation includes provisions to research low-THC medical marijuana’s efficacy. She indicates that, “the scientific data is fully developed for MS.”
Klick said, “We need more data for us to truly know if this medication helps other conditions. Our state-of-the-art research facilities here in Texas are well-suited to participate in this research.”
Klick’s bill is less broad than Lucio’s, but both add substance to an otherwise lacking medical marijuana program.
House Bill 1365 would add:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- PTSD cancer
- Huntington’s disease
- Muscular dystrophy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
It also includes provisions for those with severe and chronic pain, persistent muscle spasms and severe nausea to qualify. This legislation requires the creation of a “cannabis therapeutic research program” that would include 12 members. Proper cultivation practices and quality control for labeling and purity are also included.
There would also be specific formulas and dosages for specific conditions determined under House Bill 1365. That is one thing that other states aren’t really doing.
House Bill 3703 only expands access to all forms of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and persistent muscle spasms.
The Senate may be a tougher group of lawmakers to convince that these expansions make sense. The Lieutenant Governor, Dan Patrick, is a staunch opponent of even reducing penalties regarding marijuana. He doesn’t want any changes to current Texas law regarding marijuana. He could be a thorn in Texas residents’ sides as well as lawmakers that are pushing hard for change.
Texas lawmakers don’t have much time. Their legislative session ends on May 27. Lawmakers are cautiously optimistic that at least 1 of these 2 bills will gain the approval of the Senate and become law.