Veterans suffering from PTSD now eligible for marijuana in Texas
Patients suffering from any type of cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Texas will now be eligible to participate in the Lone Star State’s medical marijuana program. While this is certainly an expansion of the medical marijuana laws enacted in 2015, it remains one of the most restrictive in the nation. Original versions of the bill were only going to permit veterans suffering from PTSD into the program, for example. Veterans testified before lawmakers calling for anyone with the condition to be granted eligibility.
Going into effect Wednesday, Sept. 1, House Bill 1535 also doubles the allowable amount of THC from 0.5% to 1%. When the bill was first introduced, however, many had hoped that the allowable amount of THC would be increased to 5%, but the final version was reduced by the state’s Senate.
The House’s original version also extended eligibility to people suffering from other medical conditions, including chronic pain that would otherwise be treated by opioids. Opioids have long been connected by scholars to overdose deaths. There were nearly 50,000 opioid-related deaths reported in 2019.
Despite marijuana’s growing popularity nationwide and across the state, Texas legislators agreed on a watered-down version of medical marijuana reform. The state’s program was already recognized as one of the most restrictive in the country. Now, lawmakers have successfully made it less restrictive, while maintaining their previous title. Currently, more than 85% of Texans believe marijuana should be legalized recreationally or medically. So maybe soon you will see marijuana dispensaries around Texas.
Marijuana reform is a process. Some states have been able to move forward with the process quicker than others. Both chambers of Texas’ legislature are Republican-controlled, and Republicans have traditionally acted as obstacle in regards to ending the failing war on drugs. As it stands, recreational marijuana legalization in Texas seems unlikely as long as the federal government has it classified as a Schedule I substance.