The Texas House on Wednesday granted approval to House Bill 1535, which seeks to expand the state’s limited medical cannabis program to include chronic pain patients, cancer patients, and people with PTSD, the Texas Tribune reports. The proposal also seeks to raise the THC limit for cannabis products in the program from 0.5% to 5% and would allow the Department of State Health Services to adopt new qualifying conditions for the program rather than relying on lawmakers to expand eligibility through the passage of new state laws.
The proposal is sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth), who authored Texas’ original medical cannabis legislation in 2015. However, the current structure has been characterized by many advocates as a “medical CBD” program, not a medical cannabis program, and it has been made all but obsolete following the federal legalization of hemp and subsequent national proliferation of hemp-based CBD products.
Heather Fazio, Director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, told the Tribune that the increased THC limit is “a step in the right direction,” but she still called it an “incredibly restrictive cap.”
“Low levels of THC will work for some people but it doesn’t work for others. And so what we think is that doctors need to be the ones making these decisions, not lawmakers.” — Fazio, via the Tribune
The bill heads next to the Senate for consideration.
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