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Texas Lawmakers Approve MMJ Expansion Bill

The bill — which expands medical cannabis in the state by adding seven new conditions to the program’s qualifying conditions list and removing a requirement for patients to have two doctors’ recommendations before accessing the program — now goes to Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature.

Full story after the jump.

The Texas House and Senate have reconciled the medical cannabis bill overwhelmingly approved by lawmakers in both chambers earlier this month, the Victoria Advocate reports. The measure expands the state’s 2015 law by adding seven additional conditions to the qualifying conditions list – which previously only included “intractable epilepsy” and removing the requirement for two physicians to approve patients for medical cannabis use.

The measure does not raise the 0.5 percent THC cap on medical cannabis products available in the state; however, it does remove previous restrictions on all other cannabinoids.

Patients diagnosed with seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), autism, terminal cancer, and incurable neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases would qualify for medical cannabis access in Texas under the law.

Heather Fazio, director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, called the bill’s passage “a bittersweet moment” for medical cannabis advocates in the state.

“This bill moves the needle, but falls very short of what we need in Texas. Those with other debilitating medical conditions need access to whole plant cannabis, and we will not stop until the Compassionate Use Program is truly made more inclusive and functional, protecting patients and providers.” – Fazio, to the Advocate

The bill moves next to Republican Gov. Greg Abbot – who signed into law the 2015 measure. If he signs it, the new law would take effect Sept. 1.

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