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Texas Senate CBD-only medical marijuana bill advances

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A bill filed which would allow for medical marijuana in Texas with a very low THC content has been moved to the Health and Human Services committee in the senate. It had previously been referred to State Affairs.

Introduced by Sen. Kevin Eltife, a Republican from Tyler, SB 339 would create a regulatory system to grow and distribute medical marijuana in Texas to a select group of patients, primarily those suffering from seizure disorders. It has been dubbed a CBD-only bill due to its restrictions on THC, the active ingredient in cannabis which produces a high. Both CBD and THC have been shown to have medicinal qualities, however strains with a higher CBD-content have successfully been used to help control seizure activity.

Several patient advocacy groups have expressed reservations about the bill, ranging from the Patient Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics stating that it would limit options for patients and deter producers from spending resources to grow strains which only a very small part of the population could benefit from, to Team Alexis, a group supporting a 9-year-old girl from north Texas who suffers from severe seizures.

Team Alexis released a statement saying “first I want to commend Representative Klick and Senator Eltife for their leadership on this issue. While I believe their hearts are in exactly the right place, I don’t believe the bills filed today represent a solution for my daughter and many other patients throughout the state of Texas.”

Their concerns include having to wait until potentially 2018 before the program is implemented, that it will be administered by the Department of Public Safety instead of Health and Human Services, and that the strains will not contain enough THC. Alexis’ doctors have recommended a dosage which will not be covered under the current bill.

After a recent trip to the hospital, miss Bortell has had to leave the state and go to Colorado where she is now receiving medical cannabis to help with her seizures.

A companion bill, HB 892, has been identically filed by Rep. Stephanie Klick, a Republican from North Richland Hills in the Texas House of Representatives as well. It has not yet been introduced to the floor or referred to committee. It is not yet known when testimony will be opened on the bills.

Both bills are titled the Texas Compassionate-Use Act, and have been supported by Representatives John Zerwas of Richmond, Bill Zedler of Arlington, and James White of Tyler County. All are Republicans.

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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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