Medical Marijuana Program Could be Expanded in Texas

The House in Texas has given tentative approval to expand Texas' qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.

Just days after Louisiana's House Committee passed a marijuana legalization bill, neighboring state Texas has given initial approval to expand upon its existing medical marijuana framework.

Rep. Stephanie Klick introduced H.B. 1535 to the House in Texas, which seeks to add chronic pain, cancer pain, and PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in the state. As it stands, terminal cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, autism, neurodegenerative disease, and several other conditions qualify medical patients in the state for medical cannabis.

Moreover, the bill seeks to raise the existing THC limits from 0.5% to 5% in the state, which would provide stronger products to medical patients with a qualifying condition.

As it stands, the existing 0.5% THC limit is just 0.2% more THC than the existing federal hemp laws, meaning that Texas' medical cannabis is virtually indistinguishable from hemp-derived CBD.

Texas' House still needs to conduct a final vote on the medical marijuana bill, and should it receive a majority of "yes" votes, the bill will progress to the Senate and then the Governor.

Passage of the bill will be a difficult battle, with a Republican majority in the Senate, and a Republican Governor, Greg Abbott. However, Abbott has said he supports cannabis decriminalization in the past, suggesting that there is some hope for medical patients in Texas. Gov. Abbott also passed a prior bill expanding the qualifying conditions for medical cannabis in 2019, suggesting that he is open to further changes.

Although Texas is a Red state, the State's capital, Austin has implemented a de facto decriminalization of marijuana, with police no longer arresting residents for cannabis possession.

More broadly, the vast majority of Americans support cannabis legalization, and with several states having legalized recreational cannabis in recent months, the tides are certainly turning.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.