The Texas House of Representatives passed a bill Monday that aims to provide medical marijuana access to patients with intractable seizure conditions. Medical marijuana advocates, however, argue that the bill is unworkable.
The House passed SB 339, the Texas Compassionate Use Act, by a vote of 96 to 34. The bill will now be sent to Republican Governor Greg Abbott for approval.
Introduced by Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler), the bill would allow patients access to low-THC marijuana only, which is defined in the bill as cannabis comprising less than 0.5% THC by weight. Such cannabis must also contained at least 10% cannabidiol (CBD). The bill prohibits the smoking of the plant.
Many activists have criticized some of the bill’s provisions, which they claim make it unworkable. Under the bill, doctors are required to “prescribe” patients marijuana: doing so is a violation of federal law. Other medical marijuana bills allow doctors merely to “recommend” patients marijuana–recommendations are protected by the First Amendment.
Some have also criticized the proposed THC-CBD ratio, claiming that a greater ratio is often needed to effectively reduce the severity and frequency of seizures. Others have taken issue with the fact that the bill limits access to those with seizures, noting the abundance of research underscoring marijuana’s benefits for patients suffering from other conditions.
Read the full text of the bill here.
Photo Credit: Coleen Whitfield
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