Texas is a state known for being conservative on many issues – especially marijuana reform. However, that does not mean that they are completely opposed to the idea of legalization – at least not when it comes to medical marijuana. Current laws allow CBD oil to be used by patients with epilepsy – but a legislative proposal will appear on the November ballot that will give voters the chance to approve a medical marijuana program that would help hundreds of thousands more patients to legally access medical marijuana starting in 2017.
The state is already in the process of licensing dispensaries and organizations related to medical marijuana – so licensing additional businesses and expanding the patient base simply makes sense to them from a financial standpoint. It has been determined that if they were to add additional qualifying conditions for CBD, they could expand their patient base by 150,000 – put THC products into the mix and that would open up another patient base of around 565,000 individuals.
“If you look at licensing we would get—the revenue we get from licensing—as well as the fees and taxes, it’d have a huge economic impact of a regulated medicinal market, which would mean billions of dollars to the bottom line of the state in benefits,” stated local Senator José Menéndez, a Democrat from San Antonio Texas and one of the supporters of expanding the medical program.
In total, they expect that expanding the program’s list of qualifying conditions for CBD-based cannabis products would create a revenue of around $900 billion dollars – adding THC and all the qualifying conditions that would go along with it would push that even further. While the state is known for their conservative nature, they also know when there is an opportunity for making some money that they simply cannot pass up.
One company, Vyripharm Botanicals is currently heading up the oversight of cannabis production – everything from cultivation to distribution is closely watched. They also intend to use this expansion – should it pass – as an opportunity to start researching the plant both for therapeutic uses as well as any potential concerns (though this type of research has generally only managed to disprove many of the prohibitionist theories about cannabis). Conditions being researched include seizure conditions, PTSD, psychiatric disorders and cancer.
Even though the state is putting this proposal on the ballot mainly to reap the financial benefits, it would end up helping thousands of patients – and it was proposed by the state rather than a citizen’s initiative. If the number of patients who would qualify is accurate, there are hundreds of thousands who would readily vote to allow medical marijuana, so with any luck patients in Texas will finally have access to medical marijuana sometime after the start of 2017.