I’m one to celebrate every single victory for the cannabis community, and when Texas makes progress it can have an outsized impact beyond its borders, so even seemingly incremental change is actually big news for the movement. While some that have had the privilege of living in states that legalized medical use all the way back in the 1990s, increasing the THC limit to 1% and just now enrolling all cancer patients and PTSD sufferers into the state’s medical program may not seem like much, this progress will inevitably set the stage for future positive reforms in the Lonestar State as well as helping in other states, especially conservative ones that see Texas as a leader on important issues. As the Texas Tribune reported, improving the state’s medical system will be a life changer for folks like 64-year-old Desert Storm veteran David Bass who has “had nightmares almost every night for six years about being back on the warfield:”
“Bass was prescribed several kinds of medications to ease his hypervigilance after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. But those medications didn’t help him sleep. Instead, they caused him to have “flat emotions” — and, eventually, suicidal thoughts.
“It wasn’t until he tried marijuana that he was able to ease his mind and get a good night’s rest. But since the state’s medical cannabis program is restricted to those with neurological disorders or terminal cancer, Bass had to get his hands on marijuana illegally for years.
“Starting on Sept. 1, however, the Texas Compassionate Use Program will expand to include people with PTSD and cancer of all stages, allowing them to use ‘low-THC cannabis.’”
Texas’ sheer size and influence allows it to impact the actions of other states, just as we’ve seen former Governor Rick Perry getting attention in Wisconsin when talking about a medical psilocybin bill he championed for military veterans or even the textbooks used in schools across the nation. I fully expect advocates, likely led by military veterans, to expand the class of medical and increase the THC content of cannabis and other products allowed in the state’s medical program. One day, the fog of Reefer Madness will dissipate and Texas will have a truly functioning and effective medical program and this small step in the right direction should be viewed as a major advancement in that important journey. And as Texas progresses towards a more sane cannabis policy, that progress will reverberate across the nation and throughout the halls of Congress.