Texas Takes Tiny Baby Step With Cannabis Reform
Texas took a timid, almost cowardly, baby step in Cannabis reform with House Bill 1535.
The bill, aptly described as "watered down" by the Texas Tribune, expands "the Texas Compassionate Use Program to people with cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder" but denied people with chronic pain.
Originally, it only applied to intractable epilepsy, then was expanded in 2019 to include: "seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, autism, terminal cancer, or an incurable neurodegenerative disease." It also limits the THC content to 1 percent. Assuming anyone would want that, would these folks actually be able to find and purchase Cannabis?
Using the Compassionate Care database, I was able to find exactly one provider that can prescribe Cannabis in Lubbock. Here's that info if you need it:
Don't blame the Texas house for this; it was Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick that dragged his feet on the bill:
An overwhelming, bipartisan majority of the House voted last month to send HB 1535 to the Senate, where it languished in a legislative purgatory for more than two weeks. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick referred the proposal to the Senate State Affairs Committee, after weeks of outcry from advocates who said Patrick refused to give the bill a hearing.
Why? Because Patrick doesn't believe in weakening Cannabis laws, that's why:
Patrick in 2019 also raised reservations about a similar medical marijuana expansion. A Patrick spokesperson said at the time that the lieutenant governor, who has the final say on which bills are considered and to which committees they are referred, is “strongly opposed to weakening any laws against marijuana.”
Believing Cannabis should remain illegal and with harsh penalties seems indicative to me of an agenda outside a sincerely held belief. At this point, we all know better. We've seen state after state legalize weed for recreational use with almost no adverse effects (some people overdoing it and having to come down in a safe environment) and many positive ones (tons of money for the state).
At this point, it feels like anyone against Cannabis law reform is either wishing to maintain a system of mass incarceration or is simply too dumb to look past their old prejudices and biases. Just a reminder: here in Texas, we elect our lieutenant governor, and the next time we do that is November 2022.
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