After watching eight different states make drastic changes to their marijuana laws on election night, activists and advocates in Texas are getting restless about seeing an expansion to the state’s medical marijuana program. Currently, only low-THC cannabis is allowed to be used by children with intractable epilepsy in the form of CBD oil – and dispensaries and cultivation facilities are still in the process of going up in order to bring this medicine to the patients. While the Compassionate Use Program was passed, efforts to expand it so far have been shut down.
“This week’s election results were monumental,” Fazio said. “We now have 28 states – 198 million people – with access to marijuana recommended by a doctor.”
However, after watching the growth of the industry there are already draft bills in the works to be submitted for the early 2017 legislative session. Once introduced, there will likely be multiple chances for Texas lawmakers to make the decision to expand medical marijuana access – most specifically people are hoping to add PTSD, cancer and chronic pain to the list as well as losing the low-THC strain only restriction to allow full strength medical cannabis.
The Marijuana Policy Project is actually helping to draft a bill which would do all those things. However, the state is extremely conservative in nature and efforts to expand medical marijuana access before have not gotten very far – and while the state’s residents are prepared for marijuana policy reform all around, it doesn’t seem that quite all of the lawmakers are on the same page.
“It saved my life, and I want to help others realize they could tell their story,” Reeves, who runs the CenTex Community Outreach group — which advocates for marijuana reform — said Monday. “And, it’s okay to want to change the laws. We’re not breaking the law by speaking out.”
In order to change lawmakers’ minds, to help them see that this is not about people who want to get stoned, but rather real patients who simply want to find relief, patients are making themselves known and heard. Patients like Reeves and groups of veterans who long for a way to find true relief from PTSD and chronic pain are coming out to tell lawmakers what they have gone through – and how medical marijuana has made a difference, for the better, in the quality of their lives. Its stories like these that will help to persuade legislators to shift their thinking on medical marijuana.
Hopefully with activists and patients alike speaking to lawmakers and making sure their stories are heard, we will finally see real progression in medical marijuana laws for the state of Texas.