Texas Medical Cannabis Program Amendments Progress

Medical cannabis Texas
Image: DavidCardinez

A bill to expand Texas’s medical cannabis program made it through a House Committee with unanimous support yesterday.

House Bill 1365 would see more qualifying conditions added and importantly strikes the word “low-THC” from laws, replacing it with “medical”. 

Medical cannabis is defined in the Bill as:

“..the plant Cannabis sativa L., and any part of that plant or any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, preparation, resin, or oil of that plant.” 

Currently, the only medical cannabis permitted in the Lone Star state are cannabidiol (CBD) preparations containing nor more than 0.5% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and no less than 10% CBD. Furthermore, only patients with intractable epilepsy may be eligible for access and only three companies produce approved products. Consequently, the number of Texans participating in the program is very low.

But there has been thirst for change to the state’s Compassionate Use Act – and not just among patients. Championed by Representative Eddie Lucio III, HB1365 has attracted dozens of co-sponsors from both sides of the political divide. 

“It is heartbreaking to see so many Texans having to struggle because the most effective treatment for their illness is illegal in this state”, stated Rep. Lucio back in February when he filed the bill.

Under the new laws, the amount of medical cannabis that could be possessed is 2.5 ounces, although a greater amount will be permissible if a recommending physician specifies it.

Qualifying conditions under HB1365 are:

  • cancer
  • glaucoma
  • positive status for human immunodeficiency virus
  • acquired immune deficiency syndrome
  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • ulcerative colitis
  • agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • autism
  • sickle cell anemia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • muscular dystrophy
  • Huntington’s disease

Also included are medical conditions or the treatment of conditions that result in cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe pain or nausea, seizures, and severe and persistent muscle spasms. There’s also wiggle room in the legislation to add more conditions.

The full text of HB1365 as it currently stands can be accessed here.

There’s also been headway made on the industrial hemp front in Texas, which could be an important source of cannabidiol for the state. Early this month we reported hemp was removed from Schedule I from the state’s 2018 Schedules of Controlled Substances and progress is being made on HB 1325, which seeks to encourage cultivating and processing hemp in-state and take full advantage of the crop to the maximum extent permitted by law.