Texas House Passes Bills to Decriminalize Adult-Use Cannabis and Expand Medical Cannabis Program
The three legislative proposals overwhelmingly passed in the House and now head to the Senate for consideration.
Legislation and regulation
Last week was eventful for cannabis reform in Texas, as the House of Representatives approved three legislative proposals, which would expand the state's medical cannabis program, reduce penalties for concentrates and decriminalize possession.
The state's current medical cannabis program is limited to patients with the qualifying conditions: intractable epilepsy, terminal cancer, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, autism or an incurable neurodegenerative disease; however, the House approved House Bill 1535 in a 134-12 vote on April 28, which would expand the qualifying conditions in the program to include cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain, The Texas Tribune reported.
The bill would also permit the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to add additional qualifying conditions through administrative rulemaking, The Texas Tribune reported.
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) recognizes Texas' current program as a “medical cannabidiol (CBD) program” rather than a proper medical cannabis program due to the program's emphasis on utilizing CBD over tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for medicinal use, according to The Texas Tribune.
But H.B. 1535 would also raise the THC limit in medical cannabis from 0.5% to 5% and make it possible for those in the program to access higher doses than what is currently available.