Medical Cannabis

4-5 minute read

Healthcare icon: grey heart with white cross insideOur Position

Hemp, derived from the same plant as cannabis, was legalized in Texas in 2019 and remains largely unregulated. Because of this, numerous consumers have stopped consuming regulated medical cannabis for cheaper, unregulated hemp products. Legislators should recognize this change in environment and reform the medical cannabis laws with a goal to drive consumers to safer, more regulated and more effective products in the Compassionate Use Program. This should be a source of state revenues and new jobs as demonstrated in multiple states.

CTD supports HB 1535 (Klick), which would establish compassionate use review boards, increase the amount of THC allowed in medical cannabis, and increase the diagnoses or qualifications for eligibility to the TCUP program.

Partners

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy

Supporting Organizations

The Latest

May 20, 2021: Article: Texas bill could expand state's medical marijuana program

May 10, 2021: Take action! Tell your reps to Fix Texas' Compassionate Use Program!

April 28, 2021: The House passes HB 1535 (Klick), on to the Senate! CBS DFW's coverage of the bill's passage: Texas House Passes Bill To Expand Medical Marijuana Access

April 8, 2021: Two news articles covering the progress of HB 1535 (Klick) in the House: Texas House committee passes bill to expand medical marijuana program and Texas House considers another expansion of state’s medical marijuana program

Background

In 2019, in accordance with the priorities of our membership and member organizations, CTD began advocating heavily for an expanded Texas Compassionate Use program (TCUP). At that time, policy on medical cannabis and qualifying conditions allowed access to safe and legal cannabis to less than 1% of Texans. We supported legislation that would:

Expand qualifying conditions and cannabis options

Ensure safe and legal access to cannabis through regulation

That year, we helped to pass a game-changing bill, HB 3703 (Klick), that extended the qualifying conditions for TCUP from only intractable epilepsy to: other kinds of epilepsy and seizure disorders, autism, MS, spasticity, terminal cancer, and incurable neurodegenerative diseases (like ALS and Parkinson’s).

This was a major development in a state that, only 3 legislative sessions before, had declared a hard NO to any medical cannabis policy. However, our work is not done. There remain many populations who would benefit enormously from access to safe, legal medical cannabis that were left behind by HB 3703: individuals with PTSD, depression and other mental health diagnoses, complex pain management needs, autoimmune disorders, cancer with any prognosis, and others. We know that Texans will continue to suffer because of lack of access to medical cannabis, and CTD will continue our work to expand access in 2021.

In addition, the progress made in 2019 on medical cannabis came with an unintended consequence: hemp, derived from the same plant, was legalized and remains largely unregulated. The result has been that numerous consumers left regulated medical cannabis for cheaper, unregulated hemp products. In 2021, legislators should recognize this change in environment and reform the medical cannabis laws with a goal to drive consumers to safer, regulated, and more effective products in the Texas Compassionate Use Program. With a state budget shortfall and unemployment caused by the coronavirus crisis, additional TCUP reform could be a source of state revenues and new jobs as demonstrated in other states.


Further Reading

@TXDisabilities