Members of the Texas House of Representatives advanced legislation today seeking to expand the pool of patients eligible to obtain state-licensed cannabis products.
Lawmakers voted by a nearly five to one margin in favor of the legislation, House Bill 1805. Specifically, it amends the Texas Compassionate Use Program so that physicians may recommend certain products containing fixed levels of THC to patients with “a condition that causes chronic pain, for which a physician would otherwise prescribe an opioid.” It also empowers state health officials, rather than lawmakers, to add additional qualifying conditions. Currently, patients with autism, ALS, cancer, incurable neurological disorders, intractable epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress, and seizure disorders are eligible to obtain low-THC medical cannabis products.
The measure also amends limits on the amount of THC that may be present in state-licensed products.
“I am thrilled to see the proposed legislation advancing through the legislative process,” said NORML State Policies Manager Jax James, who also serves as Executive Director for Texas NORML. “Medical cannabis is an objectively safer alternative to the array of pharmaceutical drugs that it could potentially replace. I urge my fellow Texans to voice their support for this important legislation and to reach out to their Senators to encourage their backing as it moves through the legislative process.”
Texas lawmakers initially enacted legislation establishing the Compassionate Use Program in 2015. In 2021, legislators expanded the program to allow patients with PTSD and all forms of cancer to qualify for medical cannabis. That legislation also raised the limit on permissible levels of THC in licensed products from 0.5 percent to one percent.
Approximately 12,000 Texans are currently participating in the program.
Additional information on HB 1805 and other pending legislation is available from Texas NORML.