Texas non-profit has higher hopes than medical marijuana CBD-only bill
A different kind of medical marijuana bill has been filed in Texas. Senator Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler) filed SB 339 and Representative Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth) filed HB 892, both relating to the medical use of low-THC cannabis.
The bill would permit medical marijuana to be grown, but only strains which possess primarily Cannabidiol (CBD), leaving it illegal to produce most all cannabis strains due to their high Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content.
Both CBD and THC are compounds found in marijuana, however THC produces the high found by consuming the plant, while CBD does not. Some strains of cannabis which are high in CBD have been found to be helpful to a select group of patients, primarily those with epilepsy. The most common treatment by CBD-based medicine is used to help with Dravet syndrome.
Both bills set a maximum amount of THC to 0.5 percent, with a minimum of 10 percent for CBD content. It would also establish a system for doctors to prescribe the medicine, and for dispensaries to grow and sell it. Those under 18 would have to obtain approval from two CBD-qualified physicians in order to obtain the prescription.
However the Texas-based non-profit, Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (RAMP), has released a statement saying that they hope for a better outcome.
RAMP has the utmost respect for Representative Klick’s and Senator Eltife’s advocacy for patients with epilepsy to have access to safe medical marijuana when no other treatment options provide relief. However, it is clear from experience in other states that CBD-only legislation has failed to generate the high-CBD strains that epileptic patients desperately need.
The Texas Compassionate Use Act limits the market to such a degree that people will be unlikely to invest money and time into the extremely difficult practice of medical marijuana cultivation. Colorado, a state with whole plant access, has lead the nation in high-CBD marijuana strains while also helping patients who benefit from THC – such as those with cancer, muscular sclerosis, and PTSD.
RAMP advocates a bill that allows the entire plant to be accessed as medicine for qualifying conditions including cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, and conditions causing seizures, severe pain, severe nausea, and muscle spasms.
A full-plant medical marijuana bill is in the works, and advocates hope to have that bill filed in the Texas legislature by March. The bill would give wider access to patients and permit a larger selection of medicine strains.
Another marijuana-related bill has also been filed which would decrease the penalty for possession of small amounts of cannabis.