The Texas Senate on Tuesday approved a bill expanding the state’s medical cannabis program but it makes significant changes to the measure passed by the House last month, including dropping THC limits from 5% to 1%, the Dallas Morning News reports. Currently, only products containing .5% THC are allowed under the regime.
The Senate-passed proposal also removes patients with chronic pain who otherwise would be treated with opioids from the qualifying condition list – another change that had been approved by the lower chamber.
The Senate version does allow all patients with cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder access to the program.
Morris Denton, CEO of Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation, called removing patients with chronic pain “a step in the wrong direction” but was “pleased with the forward progress” of the legislation.
“Obviously, as big believers in the medicine that this plant can create, we’re disappointed to see they left out the millions of Texans suffering from chronic pain whose only real avenues are opioids, over-the-counter pain medicine or being forced to go to the illegal market in order to self medicate.” – Denton to the Morning News
The bill, which still requires House approval of the Senate-added amendments before moving to Republican Gov. Greg Abbot for his signature, also creates a medical cannabis research program under the purview of Texas Health and Human Services.
The bill increases, by far, the potential number of patients that will be allowed to access medical cannabis products in the state. When created in 2015, the program only included patients with intractable epilepsy. Two years later the program was expanded to include patients with terminal cancer, multiple sclerosis, and seizure disorders.
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