Texas’ medical marijuana program is one of the most restrictive in the country. Advocates hope the Legislature will change that.

medical professional writing on a clipboard

Five years after Texas legalized medical marijuana for people with debilitating illnesses, advocates and industry experts say the state’s strict rules, red tape and burdensome barriers to entry have left the program largely inaccessible to those it was intended to help.

But with a new legislative session gaveling in next month, some Texas lawmakers see an opportunity to fix the state’s medical cannabis program — known as the Compassionate Use Program — by further expanding eligibility and loosening some restrictions so Texas’ laws more closely resemble those of other states that allow the treatment.

There are 3,519 Texans registered with the state to use medical marijuana, though advocates say 2 million people are eligible based on current law.


3 simple steps to obtaining a medical marijuana prescription in Texas

close up of marijuana plant

It's been a few months since Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation, the state's first legal medical marijuana producer and dispensary, expanded with more Texas pick-up locations, including Plano, San Antonio, and Houston in addition to its Austin flagship.

But many still may be unsure of what the company provides or how to start the process to get medical cannabis in Texas. Turns out, all it takes to find relief for more than 146 conditions is filling out a simple form.


Multiple bills that could legalize marijuana filed in Texas legislature

marijuana plant

LUBBOCK, Texas — Over a dozen bills have been introduced to the Texas legislature that would legalize or decriminalize marijuana in the state.

Five states just recently voted in this past election to legalize marijuana–bringing the total to 15 states that have fully legalized the use of marijuana and another 34 that have legalized it for medical use.

“We are finally seeing policymakers at the federal and state level talking about repealing marijuana prohibition,” said Heather Fazio, Director of Texas for Responsible Marijuana use.

According to a March 2019 poll by the University of Texas, 54 percent of Texas voters want to legalize pot.


Texas' medical marijuana laws are strict. This is what advocates want to see changed

men standing with marijuana plants

After one failed treatment after another, Sharlene Hernandez was at a dead end.

Her 10-year-old autistic son wasn't speaking, barley eating and would play with and spread his feces around the house. Nothing was helping her child.

One day, a friend in a similar situation recommended THC via a doctor's prescription. Willing to try anything, Hernandez went for it.

ON EXPRESSNEWS.COM: Taylor: Pot legalization makes way too much sense to ignore


District attorney in Texas to dismiss misdemeanor marijuana charges

The Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office says misdemeanor marijuana cases don’t need to clog up the courts and is sharing how people charged with possession of less than two ounces can get that charge dismissed.

They need to have three clean drug tests in three months – and then the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office will dismiss the charge.

“One of the goals of the criminal justice system is rehabilitation; sobriety is the beginning of that rehabilitation,” Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney Sharen Wilson said. “When you bring proof of three months of sobriety– 90 days – the charge will be dismissed.”

The most frequently committed offense in Tarrant County is possession of marijuana of less than two ounces.


In economic crisis, Texas Democrats push to legalize marijuana

With a state budget devastated by the coronavirus, some Democratic lawmakers are hoping the economic crisis could become an opportunity to coax Texas into joining a growing number of states opting to legalize — and tax — recreational marijuana use.

The chances are slim.

State Sen. Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio and state Rep. Joe Moody of El Paso filed bills this week in advance of the 2021 legislative session that would legalize, regulate and tax personal cannabis use. State Rep. Terry Canales of Edinburg has proposed putting the question of legalization to Texas voters.


Texas Lawmaker Makes Push For Statewide Cannabis Legalization

On the heels of a historic triumph for the legalization movement at the ballot box earlier this month, one Texas lawmaker is keen to get in on the action.

Roland Gutierrez, a Democratic state House representative who was just elected to the Texas state senate, said this week that he intends to introduce legislation that would legalize both recreational and medical marijuana in the Lone Star State.


Texas Lawmaker Pre-Files Bill To Legalize Cannabis

State Senator-elect Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio has pre-filed a bill that would legalize cannabis.

The Democrat who ousted Republican Pete Flores in the State Senate District 19 race last week made the legalization of marijuana for medical and adult recreation use one of his campaign platforms.  Gutierrez says  it would result in an estimated $3.2 billion in state revenue and create 30,000 jobs.


Texas’ first legal hemp farm offers an interactive look at the plant

Down a rural farm road on the outskirts of Bergheim, 40 minutes north of San Antonio, lies the green pasture nurturing Texas' first legal hemp farm. At Texas First Hemp, visitors can take a look inside the farming operation, demystifying some of the stigma and buying samples on their way out.


Texas Sees Its First Hemp Harvest in 80 Years

It's an overcast October morning in the farmland south of Dripping Springs. The crystalline voice of reggae pioneer Desmond Dekker emits over a Bluetooth speaker as a dozen volunteers work through rows of 5-foot-high plants – cutting the giant, pungent, parakeet-colored colas emerging victoriously through the fan leaves and placing them in Rubbermaid bins.

If you believed your nose and eyes, you might think you're on a marijuana farm, but this is harvest time in Texas. It is the first season of legal hemp in over 80 years.


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