UPDATE 6/15/2021: Governor Abbott has signed HB 1535 into law! On September 1, 2021, PTSD and all cancer diagnoses will qualify for medical marijuana and the THC limit will increase to 1%.
In Senate Committee, HB 1535 was amended to remove chronic pain and reduce the proposed THC limit from 5% to 1%. Originally, HB 1535 allowed the Department of State Health Services to establish new conditions without legislative action. However, this clause was also removed in committee. The bill still adds PTSD and all stages of cancer as qualifying conditions, establishes research programs and increases the THC limit.
Although this is not everything we hoped for, it is still a step in the right direction.
Legislation expands medical cannabis access for patients currently omitted from Texas’ Compassionate Use Program and increases allowable THC by weight
Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation has announced its support for Texas House Bill 1535, filed Monday, March 8, 2021 by House Public Health Committee Chairwoman Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth.
The bill expands the list of medical conditions and patients that qualify for low-THC medical cannabis prescriptions, increases the amount of permitted THC in medicines, and creates access for patients with debilitating medical conditions designated by the Department of State Health Services.
“Physicians, lawmakers, the Department of Public Safety and medical cannabis providers have proven that we can responsibly deliver safe, quality cannabis medicine to patients throughout Texas,” Chairwoman Klick said. “This legislation comes in the midst of a harrowing health crisis in our nation and state. House Bill 1535 offers an effective alternative to opioid use and its horrible, addictive qualities while expanding access to veterans suffering from PTSD and all cancer patients. I am incredibly proud of the foundation we’ve built for the Compassionate Use Program as well as the DPS’s diligence in stewarding the program. I look forward to advancing this legislation with my fellow members.”
The bill amends the Texas Compassionate Use Act and aims to:
- Expand the list of medical conditions and patients that qualify for low-THC medical cannabis to include all stages of cancer, chronic pain for which physicians would otherwise prescribe opioids, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Grant access to low-THC medical cannabis for patients with medical conditions approved for research programs that the patients are receiving treatment under and allow access to patients with debilitating medical conditions designated by the Department of State Health Services.
- Establish one or more institutional review boards to evaluate and approve proposed research programs to study the medical use of low-THC cannabis in treating a medical condition.
- Increase the THC limit to 5% by weight, giving physicians the ability to administer the proper dosage for a patient’s condition while reducing the side effects of ingesting too much carrying oil.
“Since making history by opening the first dispensary in Texas in February 2018, we’ve witnessed Texans’ lives transform through the power and truth of medical cannabis,” said Morris Denton, TOCC’s CEO. “As the leader of the cannabis industry in Texas, we’re eager to partner with Chairwoman Klick and the legislature to push this bill into fruition and ultimately expand access to the many patients who are currently excluded from today’s Compassionate Use Program. We’re grateful for Chairwoman Klick’s leadership on this issue and we will continue to advocate to expand access to life-changing cannabis medicine for patients throughout Texas.”
“Increasing access to medical cannabis would drastically improve the lives of so many Texans struggling with debilitating conditions,” said Jay and Amy Novacek. Jay and Amy’s son is a current TOCC patient under today’s Compassionate Use Program.
“Our family supports House Bill 1535 because we’ve seen firsthand how this medication has improved our son’s life—by giving him hope for a more normal future,” said the Novaceks. “That said, an increase in allowable THC levels will dramatically reduce the amount of carrying oil he has to consume and curtail unwanted digestive side effects created by the state’s current regulatory environment. We want more patients to have the same freedom that our son has to obtain life-saving remedies and for our doctors to be empowered to prescribe medical cannabis in the most effective dosages.”
Wondering how you can help advance medical cannabis legislation in Texas? Click below for ways you can get involved.