Veterans to hold conference at Texas capitol for medical marijuana
Texas-based military veterans and their families will gather at the state capitol Wednesday for a lobby day in support of legislation that would allow medical marijuana to be used in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), severe pain, and other debilitating medical conditions.
The group will hold a news conference at 12 p.m. CT in Room 110 of the John H. Reagan State Office Building, at which it will urge House Public Health Committee Chair Myra Crownover (R-Denton) to hold a hearing on HB 3785, which would allow seriously ill Texas residents to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. Advocates will also highlight a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling at the end of March that found two out of three voters in Rep. Crownover’s district (67%) support such legislation.
“There are about 1.67 million veterans living in Texas, and hundreds of thousands of them are believed to be suffering from service-connected disabilities,” said Tristan Tucker, a Denton-based Navy veteran. “Medical marijuana is effective in mitigating the symptoms of PTSD and severe pain, two of the most prevalent conditions afflicting veterans. Veterans who use medical marijuana to treat their service-related injuries should be treated like patients, not criminals.”
HB 3785, introduced by Rep. Marisa Márquez (D-El Paso), and its companion bill in the Senate, SB 1839, introduced by Sen. José Menéndez (D-San Antonio), would create a program through which individuals with qualifying medical conditions would receive licenses allowing them to possess limited amounts of medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. It would also direct the Department of State Health Services to establish a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana cultivators, processors, and dispensaries.
“If a veteran’s doctor believes medical marijuana is an effective treatment for their illness, then veterans should have safe and legal access to it,” Rep. Márquez said. “The legislature needs to take the suffering of these Texans seriously.”
“Our veterans have experienced the horrors of war to protect our freedoms and as a result sacrificed their physical and mental health,” Sen. José Menéndez said. “It’s absurd that we would deny them an effective treatment for their PTSD and other injuries.”
Three out of four Texans (77%) think seriously ill people should have the right to use marijuana for medical purposes, according to a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released in February 2014.
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