Texas governor says he'll sign medical marijuana bill
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has announced that he will sign medical marijuana legislation on Monday.
Abbott issued a news advisory Sunday announcing a Monday bill signing ceremony with the authors of Senate Bill 339 — Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, and Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth.
The bill would legalize medical marijuana in limited fashion for Texans, allowing the production and sale of CBD, a medicinal compound found on marijuana. It would not legalize any medical marijuana which contains a high amount of THC, the active ingredient which produces a “high.”
A contentious piece of legislation this session, it was the only bill to make its way to a full vote by either chamber of the state legislature.
Advocates of the bill say that it is designed to help people with severe seizure disorders. Others have had a mixture of responses to the legislation, ranging from support, to neutral, to outright opposition.
Critics of the legislation say that it is fundamentally designed to be ineffective and will benefit no one because of language which allows doctors to only prescribe the CBD oil instead of recommend as other states currently do. It is federally illegal for doctors to prescribe medical marijuana, ensuring that any doctor in Texas which prescribes the compound would face revocation of their license.
Under the bill, only a neurologist or epileptologist would be able to prescribe CBD oil.
Other arguments include the ineffectiveness of the CBD compound alone, and that in order to have the greatest benefit for patients, other compounds of the plant must be legalized as well.
Once passed, the legislation would not go into effect until late 2017.
Over 70 people testified on medical marijuana legislation this year during committee hearings, with most saying that only whole plant medical marijuana could help their children who have severe seizures and a myriad of other patients. No one testified against any of the medical marijuana legislation.
Another piece of legislation which would have legalized whole plant medical marijuana similar to that of 23 other states where medical cannabis is legal, was prevented from being voted on by the House Public Health Committee by chairwoman Rep. Myra Crownover, a Republican from Denton.
By: Stephen Carter
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