Texas expansion of medical cannabis nears finish line after Senate approval

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The 86th Legislature runs from Jan. 8 to May 27. From the state budget to health care to education policy — and the politics behind it all — we focus on what Texans need to know about the biennial legislative session.

Marijuana advocates were handed an unlikely victory Wednesday after the Texas Senate advanced a bill greatly expanding the list of debilitating medical conditions that can legally be treated by cannabis oil in the state.

Although the upper chamber’s leadership once opposed bills that would relax the state’s pot policies, the Senate unanimously voted in favor of a bill by state Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, that expands the state’s Compassionate Use Program, which currently allows the sale of cannabis oil only to people with intractable epilepsy who meet certain requirements.

The bill now heads back to the Texas House, where lawmakers can either approve the Senate changes or opt to iron out their differences in a conference committee before lawmakers adjourn in five days. Klick did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether she’d accept the Senate changes to her bill.

Continue reading “Texas expansion of medical cannabis nears finish line after Senate approval”

Medical cannabis bill clears Texas Senate committee

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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.

Amended medical marijuana bill passes committee unanimously

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Austin, Texas – A bill which would expand Texas’ medical marijuana program has passed out of the House Committee on Public Health with unanimous support.

HB 1365, filed by Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D-Brownsville), would expand the Texas Compassionate Use Program (TCUP) to include more qualifying conditions and would allow more doctors to work with patients in the program. The legislation currently has the bi-partisan support of 56 state legislators as both authors and coauthors.

Conditions which would now qualify for participation in TCUP include cancer, autism, PTSD, and neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Tourrette syndrome. Other diseases include Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, muscular dystrophy, and multiple sclerosis.

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Texas lawmaker whose bill allowed medical cannabis oil wants to expand its use in 2019

skliGov. Greg Abbott displays SB339 as Rep. John Zerwas, Rep. Stephanie Klick and Sen. Kevin Eltife watch. The bill would allow limited use of medical marijuana oil that will control seizures in epileptic children.

Four years after she authored legislation that legalized the sale of medical cannabis oil to Texans suffering from a small number of conditions, Republican state Rep. Stephanie Klick plans to push to expand the list of eligible patients in 2019.

On Thursday, the Fort Worth representative filed House Bill 3703, which would give Texans with multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and spasticity access to medical cannabis oil containing low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive element in marijuana known as THC.

Continue reading “Texas lawmaker whose bill allowed medical cannabis oil wants to expand its use in 2019”

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.

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

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.

 

What New Marijuana Laws Might Pass in Texas This Year?

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Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, a coalition that includes NORML and a couple dozen other groups, is prioritizing two bills this year: one that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana and another to legalize marijuana for medical use.

Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, is sponsoring the decriminalization bill for the third time. In 2016, more than 66,000 Texans were arrested for marijuana possession, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Moody hopes to cut this down by replacing the criminal penalty for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana with a fine.

Continue reading “What New Marijuana Laws Might Pass in Texas This Year?”

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”