Home»Health»Texas patient advocacy group says current 'medical marijuana' bills do not go far enough

Texas patient advocacy group says current 'medical marijuana' bills do not go far enough

The Patient Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics lobbied state representatives in Austin back in January.
The Patient Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics lobbied state representatives in Austin back in January.

A patient advocacy group is saying that the current CBD-only medical marijuana legislation filed in the Texas legislature does not go far enough, which severely limits who can use cannabis as medicine.

While the Patient Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics has said they will stay neutral on the legislation, they’ve found some major shortcomings in the proposed program.

“With the emergence of the CBD-focused House Bill 892 and Senate Bill 339, there are many point of views and legitimate concerns that need to be considered and kept in mind. We have to see this from both sides of the spectrum with respect to the “parental point-of-view” of where CBD only legislation can help those suffering, but only a minimal few, a very small percentage in regard to the patient community of Texas. We need to keep in mind the big picture and the implications that CBD-only legislation poses in regard to our efforts for “whole-plant” medical cannabis legislation in Texas,” stated Vincent Lopez, the group’s director.

“It is not the position of the Patient Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics to influence and/or persuade anyone to testify FOR, NEUTRAL, or AGAINST either one of these bills, all we can do is provide our point-of-view in reference to both HB 892 and SB 339.”

The group also says that the bills should be classified as hemp bills instead.

“One aspect that we must keep in mind is that in the case of such CBD strains, for example “Charlotte’s Web”, these strains are classified and considered as Hemp products, due to the non-existent levels of THC. What we need to be clear on is that the bills of HB 892 and SB 339 are not “medical cannabis bills”, they are bills that will and should be classified as to what they really are, hemp bills.”

They also say that this will not help the majority of those who need it and, for those who do get medical marijuana, it will largely be ineffective.

“In regard to HB 892 and SB 339, our biggest concern lies in the potential that these CBD bills have in possibly creating a medical system that is, one, extremely limited in its qualifying conditions, only covering a very small percentage of patients suffering from one type of epilepsy, when there are many other forms of the disease and many other conditions that will not be helped by just CBD only, and two, the bills limit ratios on Cannabis oils to 20:1,” Lopez stated.

“Let’s remember that a majority of medical conditions such as certain forms of Autism, Cancer, Epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, Muscular Dystrophy, PTSD, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Intractable Neuropathic Pain, and Lyme Disease (just to name a few) can benefit from the medicinal use of cannabis, and in most cases, often require a concentration or ratio of both THC and CBD compounds, for example, a 10-to-1 or 1-to-1 THC content, which would not be legal under either one of these proposed bills.”

Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018
Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018

Under the proposed legislation, the program would not be administered by the health department, but by the Department of Public Safety, a department not designed for medical programs.

“Thirdly, we believe this program should be ran by Health and Human Services and not by the Department of Public Safety who has until 2018 to license the first dispensary, in which many patients cannot wait that long, especially when most are suffering now. SB 339 also states that “No other treatments approved by the FDA are available” as a precondition to medical cannabis, which implies that patients would have to try several dangerous pharmaceuticals, VNS Implant, and possibly Brain Surgery FIRST, before even considering CBD oil as a possible medical option.”

They are hopeful though that a whole plant medical cannabis program can be passed this session.

“As a group guided by science and compassion, the Patient Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics cannot be in support of either HB 892 or SB 339, but do believe with some modifications and adjustments, a solution can be achieved and passed this session. From our perspective, CBD only legislation represents a very minimal comprehension of what cannabis actually is and what it can do. If any stance we would take, it would have to be the stance of NEUTRAL, only on the basis of expansion, in covering more medical conditions and allowing the option for whole plant extracts and oils.”

“We believe the hearts of Representative Stephanie Klick and Senator Kevin Eltife to be in exactly the right place, but have come to the realization that these bills do not represent a solution for the many other patients, who need safe-access to whole plant extracts and oils, throughout the state of Texas.”

The group lobbied elected officials in Austin back in January, and plans to visit with them again concerning the need for a medical marijuana program on Feb. 24.

P.A.C.T. is a patient support & empowerment group with the objective of expanding the level of patient outreach, encouraging patient empowerment, the correct knowledge, etiquette, manner, and discipline, required in changing cannabis laws in Texas.

Those interested in P.A.C.T. may email Vincent@texasnorml.org for more information.

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Email us at Contact@txcann.com

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a 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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