It has been a long, slow ride for patients hoping to get access to cannabis in the Lone Star State—and then, just special strains of low-THC cannabis and only for those suffering from “intractable epilepsy.”
Three dispensaries are hoping to get final approval from Texas authorities to start cultivating next month. Of course, it will be several more months before they can actually begin distributing—and then ambiguities in the law may mean further delays.
Activists and lawmakers are pushing both to clear things up and expand the scope of the program.
In 2015, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law the Texas Compassionate Use Act, legalizing the sale of CBD-rich strains with no more than 0.5 percent THC to epilepsy patients whose symptoms have not responded to federally approved medications.
The Texas Tribune now reports that three eligible dispensaries—Surterra Texas, Cansortium Texas and Compassionate Cultivation—are waiting on final approval from the Texas Department of Public Safety to begin growing and distributing these specified strains. The department has until Sept. 1 to do so under the 2015 law.
The first issue is the extremely limited number of qualifying patients.
“We were very disappointed in how unreasonably restrictive the Compassionate Use Act was written,” Heather Fazio of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy told the Tribune. “We’re grateful it was intended for some people to have access to some type of cannabis, but science shows [medical marijuana] can help countless Texans suffering from PTSD, multiple sclerosis and severe pain.”
A bill just filed by State Senator José Menéndez would expand the applicable ailments to include post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer, traumatic brain injuries and other “debilitating conditions.”
But, as KCEN TV notes, there is pretty stiff resistance to its passage in the state house. A similar measure failed before this year’s legislative session ended in June, which means Menéndez would have to get a vote scheduled in a special session for his measure to have any hope of passage in 2017.
Then, there are the ambiguities in the Compassionate Use Act.
First, the text of the law states that cannabis will only be available with a doctor’s “prescription”—and physicians are barred by federal law from prescribing marijuana. Other states have finessed this dilemma by calling for a doctor’s “recommendation.” Whether due to an oversight or intentional sabotage, the Texas law has set up a Catch-22.
Then, there’s the question of how the cannabis is to be actually administered. The law does allow herbaceous cannabis—but explicitly prohibits smoking it. Nor does it make any reference to vaporization. Oils and extracts are mentioned, but patients who want to use the herbaceous form may be facing another Catch-22. A similar mess was created by the clumsy Florida law.
Meanwhile, an 11-year-old Texas girl who suffers from seizures and had to move to Colorado to get access to cannabis medications has filed a lawsuit against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the U.S. Department of Justice and the DEA. The suit seeks to force the federal government to reschedule cannabis and allow it to be prescribed by doctors.
“I just want kids like me to be able to do what normal kids are able to do,” said Alexis Bortell in a Skype interview with Dallas station WFAA from her new home in Denver, where she is being successfully treated with CBD oil.
Over 800 CVS Stores Will Start Carrying CBD Products
Religious Leaders in South Carolina Voice Support for Medical Marijuana
New Jersey Lawmakers to Vote on Marijuana Legalization Bill Next Week
Three Reasons Why Live Resin Represents the Future of Cannabis Products
Knowledgeable Dabbing: A Guide To Our Favorite Quartz Bangers
First Clinical Trial Of Cannabis For PTSD in Veterans Is Now Complete
Missouri Police Raid Hospital Room of Stage 4 Cancer Patient Using Cannabis
Oklahoma House Passes Medical Cannabis Protection Bill
News6 days ago
Indiana State Trooper Seizes $3.5 Million Worth of Cannabis, Vapes
News6 days ago
Colorado Researchers Seeking Volunteers to Get High and Drive
Culture6 days ago
The New “Miss Marijuana” Pageant Comes With Outdated Guidelines and Transphobia
Culture6 days ago
The Family Growing Cannabis to Help People Get Off Pills in Kauai
News7 days ago
Florida’s Ban on Smokable Marijuana is One Step Closer to Being Repealed
News7 days ago
On-Site Cannabis Consumption Will Soon Be Sanctioned in Alaska
Business6 days ago
Here’s What To Do When Your 420 Instagram Account Gets Deactivated
News2 days ago
Family of Man Killed by Bulldozer After Growing Pot Sues Police