Oct 16, 2016 12:25 PM

When It Comes to Marijuana Legalization, Texas Takes It Slow

Marijuana legalization in Texas seems to be a pipe dream not just for those who would like to use weed for recreational purposes but for cannabis patients as well. Despite the fact that half the country recognizes medicinal value of cannabis, medicating with marijuana is quite a challenge in the Lone Star State.

Texas medical marijuana law

The only form of medical weed the Texans can use legally is a non-psychoactive CBD oil with no more than 0.5 percent of THC. The Texas Compassionate Use Act was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbot back in 2015. Despite this, Texas medical marijuana patients cannot get access to the medicine they need.

The main problem is hiding in the language of the signed law. In other states with legal medical weed, the lawmakers usually use words “recommendation” or “certification.” It helps the physicians avoid any problems with the law because both “recommendations” and “certifications” are federally legal under the First Amendment.

In Texas, however, the law says that in order to get access to medical cannabis, a patient needs to get a prescription from a doctor. Prescribing a Schedule I drug is a violation of the federal laws, and the chances to find a professional therapist who would agree to take this risk are extremely low.

Regrettably, according to the current Texas marijuana law, only patients with severe epilepsy can be allowed to use medical marijuana. The patients who suffer from chronic pain, cancer, HIV, PTSD, and other severe conditions are forced to move to other states with more marijuana-friendly policies because their conditions are not included in the Compassionate Use Act.

Then, there is one more issue that makes medicating with marijuana ineffective even for those who have medically resistant epilepsy. Even if you meet the requirements of the Texas medical cannabis law and are lucky enough to find a physician who will prescribe you cannabis oil, there is a chance that the marijuana-based treatment will not help you. The problem is, in some cases high-CBD oil is just not enough and you need to add some THC oil to your treatment scheme in order to get the effect you need.

When will the situation change?

A few weeks ago, a group of activists and marijuana supporters held a training session at the Oso Recreation Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. The main topic they discussed was the expansion of the current Texas Compassionate Use Act. The activists from the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) want to fight for changing the current marijuana policy in Texas during the next legislative session. Among other things, they want to make medical cannabis accessible for the patients with severe conditions, including cancer, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, etc.

NORML Corpus Christi is another group that fights for changing Texas marijuana laws on both local and state levels. Earlier this year, the group petitioned the City of Corpus Christi to expand the list of conditions qualifying for medical marijuana but failed. Now, along with their colleagues from MPP, they are going to fight for changing marijuana laws across the state.

The next Texas legislative session will start on January 10, 2017.

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