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Medical marijuana makes its play for Texas special session

Medical marijuana supporters are making a bid to have their issue included in the Texas special legislative session called by Governor Greg Abbott.

A medical bill during the regular session earlier this year garnered the support of over half of the Texas House of Representative’s 150 members, the majority of which are Republicans. The bill also passed out of committee, despite opposition from the committee chair, but wasn’t scheduled to be heard by the full House in time.

Now proponents of a whole plant medical cannabis program are hoping they can convince Gov. Abbott to add the issue to his agenda.

“In spite of unprecedented support from lawmakers, Texas failed to improve the Compassionate Use Program during the regular legislative session” states Heather Fazio, the Texas Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project, who also heads up a coalition group called Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy.

The Compassionate Use Program she refers to was signed into law by Gov. Abbott in 2015 which establishes a CBD extract program, a compound of the cannabis plant, for patients with intractable epilepsy. The program is slated to go into effect September 1 of 2017, however many doubt that the program is workable due to the wording of the law for prescriptions, massive costs, and lack of licenses issued.

“This special session offers us a unique opportunity: one more chance to stand for patients who were left behind by the unreasonably restrictive ‘Compassionate’ Use Act. Governor Abbott is the gatekeeper and he needs to hear from Texans that patients should be a priority! Supporters of this cause should not only call and email the governor themselves, but also work to mobilize their like-minded friends, family members, and neighbors.”

Fazio adds, “Those at the Capitol cannot adequately represent us if they don’t know where we stand on this important issue.”

Gov. Abbott has full control of what issues can advance during the special legislative session, and is the only person who can put medical marijuana on the table.

How often does such an effort for any issue work though, let alone the subject of marijuana?

“2011 was the last time I saw the people of Texas put enough pressure on the governor to compel him to add an item to the agenda. That effort was also about Liberty, a cause for which we all carry a torch…as Americans and as Texans,” Fazio says.

She concludes, “It’ll be tough to convince Gov. Abbott to put patients before politics, but one thing is for certain: no action will be taken unless we insist on it.”

The group is encouraging Texans to reach out to Gov. Abbott through www.ProtectPatients.org which will put people in touch with both the governor and their legislators.

Stay up to date with the latest cannabis news from a Texas perspective by following the Texas Cannabis Report social media pages.
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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a 30 year old journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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4 Comments

  1. J
    July 31, 2017 at 6:03 pm — Reply

    Get real! You can call until your blue in the face but Texas is the state of private prisons and big pharma. Your kidding yourself if you think Abbot will make a call for a bill that does not support his and his contributors best interest. Until the drug companies have a descheduled pill form they can take to market I doubt you will see any movement especially before the joke they are passing off as a medical program falls on its face in Sept. Civil disobedience is the way. Do what you need to do for yourself and your family. Show up for jury duty and refuse to convict peaceful people who have a right to their own body and what goes in it. Take control, don’t ask permission from representatives who are bought and paid for. No victory ever came without a risk. Take a stand for what you know is right. Together the ants can take down the elephant.

  2. Josh
    July 31, 2017 at 6:43 pm — Reply

    I just emailed Abbot just like last year I doubt it will make a difference Texas needs Gregg Abbot out of office we need to beg plead what ever to anyone who supports Abbot to think about what’s really going on we need a govenor who cares about Texans and not the foot ball team I mean us

  3. J
    July 31, 2017 at 8:14 pm — Reply

    Why do people feel like they have to beg and plead for their rights? I understand that everyone is in a different position and not everyone is willing to put themself at risk but I can’t think of many movements that were successful because the people asked nicely. The state of Texas has heard the stories of our needs. They know that the majority of Texans approve of legal access to cannabis. I say it’s time for Texans to take their rights, not ask daddy government to pretty please give us what was never their right to take in the first place.

  4. Kathy Key
    August 1, 2017 at 4:45 am — Reply

    I will use my 2018 vote to support ANY candidate who supports legalization. To hell with how they stand on other issues. I have smoked for 45 years and lived in states with legal pot, I am sick of Texas’ backward thinking and “good ‘ol boys” clubs.

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