Texas makes breakthrough in expanding Medical Marijuana access
A bill that would make many more Texans eligible for medical marijuana under the state's existing program just cleared a crucial hurdle.
Marijuana appears to be marching toward expanded access in Texas.
Less than a week after Texas lawmakers voted to pass a separate bill through the committee stage (a necessary step in how a bill becomes a law) that would effectively decriminalize weed within the state's borders, another committee heard arguments for expanding access to medical marijuana within state borders.
Arguments in favor of this latest bill were apparently effective. House Bill 1805, which would add people suffering from chronic pain to the list of qualifying medical marijuana patients under the state's existing medical marijuana program, cleared the committee stage Monday, according to The Marijuana Herald's Anthony Martinelli.
HB 1805 specifically adds chronic pain patients who would otherwise be prescribed opioids to the list of people with medical conditions that can obtain medical marijuana through the Texas Compassionate Use Program. The Compassionate Use Program already allows doctors to prescribe low-THC weed products to qualifying patients. People with cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and a number of other "debilitating medical conditions" currently qualify for the program.
According to the Marijuana Herald's Martinelli, the Calendars Committee will now schedule HB 1805 for consideration by the full Texas House of Representatives. A companion senate bill has been assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, according to Martinelli's Tuesday report.
Republican Rep. Stephanie Klick of Fort Worth authored the bill and is also the chair of the House Public Health Committee. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Eleanor Dearman, Klick has "worked to broaden the program in past sessions…" and "said she intends to have a medical program that follows the scientific data."
There were 45,440 patients in the state's compassionate use registry and 681 doctors registered to prescribe medical marijuana as of January, according to the Department of Public Safety.