Everything is supposed to be bigger in Texas, but not advancements in medical cannabis, apparently, as the Texas Senate significantly scaled back legislation that had already passed the state House. Even the House version, with a 5% cap on THC was an extremely limited upgrade of one of the nation’s most restrictive medicinal cannabis programs that caps THC at half a percent. The Senate unanimously passed an expansion of THC limits to just 1% while stripping away chronic pain as a qualifying condition. With the nation’s current opioid addiction and overdose epidemic, it seems incredulous that legislators would prohibit patients with pain conditions that would otherwise be treated with an opioid from utilizing a significantly safer and less addictive medicine. The bill will still increase the number of qualifying conditions, including PTSD, but this baby step is disappointing. I am usually one to celebrate any victories for the cannabis community, so I’ll admit at being disheartened hearing the dismay of the advocates on the ground in the Lone Star State as the Houston Chronicle reported:
“To see some of the amendments that were made leaves us advocates disappointed and somewhat dismayed,” said Heather Fazio, director of advocacy group Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy.
Texas is among 47 states and four territories that offer medical marijuana programs; however, it’s one of the 12 most-restrictive states that limit patients to low-THC products for medical reasons in limited situations or as a legal defense, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“Every state surrounding Texas allows patients safe and legal access to this medicine,” Fazio said. “The fact that we’re just inching forward, expanding this program so minimally is disappointing and just demonstrates how much work we have to do as advocates.”
A sincere thanks to the Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy and everyone working hard in a very difficult political environment. Many of us understand the emotional rollercoaster political efforts put you through, whether it’s a ballot campaign or a legislative battle. Not accomplishing your ultimate goal can be deflating, but keep your head up, freedom fighters. While I sincerely feel for the advocates that are distressed at the moment and the patients that will be denied an effective medicine for the time being, improving the state’s medical cannabis program this year will improve more lives and will set the stage for future victories.
Kind Leaf is glad that Oregonians have a much better selection of cannabis products to choose from and always offers OMMP patients an additional 15% off of their medicinal purchases. All senior citizens and military veterans also receive discounts.