Medical cannabis bill clears Texas Senate committee

medical plants

The use of cannabis to treat a variety of debilitating medical conditions cleared a major hurdle Thursday when a legislative panel approved what supporters call the Compassionate Use Program.

The action by the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee could move House Bill 3703 to the full chamber for a vote next week.

“The Texas Legislature took another step toward a more inclusive and functional Compassionate Use Program,” said Heather Fazio, director of the Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy. “Sadly, though, the vast majority of patients are being left behind. We hope senators will consider including patients with other debilitating medical conditions like PTSD, severe pain, and Crohn’s Disease.”

The bill, which already has passed in the House, does not affect overall marijuana laws in Texas.

However, it does expand the medical use of cannabis to treat medical conditions including all epilepsy and seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, terminal cancer, and incurable neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, autism and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Several marijuana bills, however, remained bottled up.

The House has passed a measure by El Paso Democrat to effectively decriminalize first-time possession of an ounce or less of marijuana. But House Bill 63 is a nonstater in the Senate where Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the presiding officer, has said he opposes any relaxation of drug laws.

Time for considering legislation is short. The session in Austin ends May 27.

Texas Senate Unanimously Approves Hemp Legalization Bill

Photo by Brendan Cleak 2017

Wednesday at the Texas Capitol was hump day — or hemp day, state Sen. Charles Perry joked before the upper chamber unanimously approved a bill that would legalize the farming of industrial hemp in Texas.

After a relatively short, amiable debate, the Texas Senate approved House Bill 1325 by state Rep. Tracy King. The bill would legalize hemp and hemp-derived extracts like CBD oil as long as they contain no more than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive element in marijuana known as THC. While hemp-based products that contain no THC — like clothing and twine, protein powder, moisturizers and essential oils — are legal in the state, the plant cannot be legally grown here and Texas businesses often have to source it from other states or even countries.

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Texas loosens state-level hemp ban, but uncertainty remains

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Hemp holdout Texas is taking a big step toward embracing the federally legal plant, with one agency announcing a rule change to remove the plant from the state’s definition of marijuana.

But entrepreneurs hoping that Texas will allow a hemp industry before federal agencies take action say that the April 5 change isn’t enough to allow the booming industry to take root in the nation’s second-largest state.

The change was quietly announced earlier this month, when the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) added a notice to a state register that it would amend its definition of marijuana to carve out hemp with no more than 0.3% THC.

The agency said the change would align Texas’ definitions with the new federal standard adopted in the 2018 Farm Bill.

Hemp activists applauded the change, noting that the agency changing its definition was the same one that said last year it would yank CBD products off shelves.

That crackdown was put on hold pending a legal review.

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The latest prospects for marijuana reform in Texas: Both major parties pushing for changes at Capitol

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Lawmakers have filed 13 bills related to marijuana policy so far this session, with Gov. Greg Abbott signaling he is on board with reducing penalties for possession of small amounts of pot.

Many states have approved the use of marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes. To date, the only major piece of legislation in Texas is the use of low-THC oil for children suffering from intractable epilepsy.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has approved 40 doctors from three clinics for the prescription of low-THC cannabis. The three companies providing low-THC cannabis in Texas are Cansortium Texas, based in Schulenberg; Compassionate Cultivation in Manchaca, just south of Austin; and Surterra Wellness in Austin.

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Marijuana and CBD Laws in Texas Podcast

Shawn McDonald of Smith McDonald Bolin explains what the current Texas laws are related to Marijuana possession and CBD oils.

He also explains how different counties are “enforcing” the law. For more information about or to ask questions related to these laws, please leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to answer them.

 

Texas Lawmaker Calls for Legalization of Medical Marijuana

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When the Texas legislature goes into session on Jan. 8, the legalization of medical marijuana is certain to be a hot-button issue. Noting that it is already legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia, Sen. Jose Menendez says the time has come for Texas to make its use legal here. Continue reading “Texas Lawmaker Calls for Legalization of Medical Marijuana”

Texas Marijuana Advocates Set Sights on 2019 Legislative Session

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Texas is poised for historic action in 2019 to ease some marijuana prohibitions and join a national cannabis legalization movement that, to varying degrees, has already swept up all four of its border states.

Or maybe not.

Continue reading “Texas Marijuana Advocates Set Sights on 2019 Legislative Session”