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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Will Bi-Partisan Push Finally Fix Texas' Useless Medical Marijuana Law?

Posted By on Tue, May 9, 2017 at 1:30 PM

  • dankdepot via flickr creative commons
With little time left this legislative session, supporters of House Bill 2107 will stand outside the Texas Capitol today in hopes of pressuring lawmakers to put their bill on the state Senate's calendar. If not, Texans will have to wait another two years for another crack at changing the state's practically useless medical marijuana law.

"We still have a lot to do before we might expect HB 2107 to pass," said Heather Fazio, Texas political director at Marijuana Policy Project. "That's why we will be gathering today and handing out fliers to let everyone know that even Republican representatives are behind it."

Last Friday the bill, which would reform the state's current medical marijuana policy, received the endorsement of an additional 72 House members— Republicans and Democrats— after the Public Health Committee heard hours of testimony.

Following the vote, Reps. Eddie Lucio III and Jason Isaac celebrated the effort in a letter, saying: “In this time of divisive politics, we have found bipartisan agreement that the well-being of our loved ones suffering from life-threatening or debilitating conditions should rise above the fray of Left and Right."

The bill would fix many of the problems in the Texas Compassionate Use Act, which required doctors to "prescribe" marijuana, an action that is illegal by federal law. If HB 2107 were implemented, doctors would only have to "recommend" patients for marijuana treatment — language that mirrors medical marijuana laws in other states. HB 2107 would also expand the law to include not only people with uncontrollable seizures and rare forms of epilepsy, but also people suffering from a long list of disease including cancer, Crohn’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.

Still, even with the support of half of the House of Representatives, HB 2107 must face the Senate and a hostile Gov. Greg Abbott, who is known for his stringent stance on the issue, before patients could expect easier access to pot.

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