A Texas committee approved House Bill 1805, which would doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients struggling with chronic pain that would otherwise have been given an opioid.
On top of this, the legislation would increase the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cap currently established by medical marijuana law. Allowing for volumetric doses of up to 10 mg THC.
Even more so, the bill would give regulators at the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) the ability to approve further health conditions for the cannabis program. This may be one of the biggest breakthroughs of HB 1805 simply due to the fact that it may give Texans better access to medical marijuana.
As of now, Texas law states medical cannabis can only be prescribed for the following conditions:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Incurable neurodegenerative disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD
- Seizure disorders
Beyond the limitations of these qualifying conditions, Texas also has one of the strictest THC caps in the country at 1%. For perspective, most recreational cannabis available contains at least 20% THC—practically making Texas’s medical program a cannabidiol (CBD) industry.
HB 1805 was initially introduced by Stephanie Klick (R) and has since passed the House Public Health Committee. This comes just weeks after the House committee approved a bill that would decriminalize cannabis possession within Texas.
With that, many are feeling confident HB-1805 will continue to find success as it makes it’s voted on by legislatures. Furthermore, many speak highly of the benefits this will have on the state as a whole.
As Interim CEO at Texas Original, Nico Richardson, puts it: “Chronic pain by far, within Texas, would be the largest patient base that’s not currently being served.”
Texas’s Changing Attitude Towards Marijuana
Beyond HB-1805, Texas seems to currently be undergoing a major shift in perception toward marijuana.
As mentioned, a bill that recently passed the House committee would decriminalize cannabis possession altogether. On top of this, the bill would also make it easier for those with previous criminal charges to get their records expunged.
This past November, voters have already enacted decriminalization in five Texas cities, including Austin.
In San Antonio, a similar bill will be found on voters’ ballots this upcoming May. Included in this bill are other progressive measures, such as ending abortion restrictions and banning no-knock warrants.
On top of these, Texas lawmakers have recently filed three bills that plan to expand research concerning the use of psychedelics for therapeutic benefits. While these bills wouldn’t decriminalize psychedelics (as we’re seeing in a number of places), they’re a step in a direction we didn’t think Texas would take. And this new direction only continues to be echoed by lawmakers and voters.
A recent poll reveals the majority of Texas voters agree that the state’s cannabis laws should not be as strict.
House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) has recently noted that he wants to work on criminal justice reform in 2023 that would lower penalties for marijuana possession.
Governor Greg Abbott (R) also voiced that people shouldn’t be incarcerated due to low-level cannabis possession. However, he has since rebuffed Joe Biden’s plea to consider state pardons.
While the Texas marijuana movement may feel slow, there’s no denying the progress it’s making. And for one of the last states to continue criminalizing marijuana possession, this progress is exactly what the state needs.
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