Texas lawmakers drafted a bill that would allow physicians
to prescribe medicinal cannabis for patients battling chronic pain instead of
HB 1805 authored by Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Tarrant County,
was approved by the House Public Health Committee with a 10-0 vote Monday,
The bill allows the Department of State Health Services to
identify medical conditions that would qualify patients for the program.
The bill expands the list of conditions for patients to qualify
for a prescription of low-THC medical cannabis by including “a condition that
causes chronic pain, for which a physician would otherwise prescribe an
If passed, the bill would take effect Sept. 1.
Texas passed the Compassionate-Use Program, or CUP, in 2015,
which allowed the first legal use of low-THC cannabis products in the state,
according to the Texas State Law Library.
It was originally solely for patients with intractable
epilepsy, but was later expanded to include other conditions in 2019 and 2021
by the Texas Legislature to be more inclusive.
The program is available for patients with medical
conditions such as: epilepsy, autism, cancer, multiple sclerosis,
post-traumatic stress disorder, etc.
Information on Texas medical marijuana on Texas.gov says
that low-THC comes from a plant called Cannabis Sativa L.
Parts of the plant that make up a maximum of 0.5 percent by
weight of THC are considered low-THC.
Medical use of the plant is limited to swallowing a
prescribed dose, not smoking it.
Patients can be prescribed low-THC if they are: a permanent
resident of Texas, has one of the listed medical conditions, a CUP registered
physician and their physician decides that the benefit of the prescription
outweighs the risk.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
there were over 106,000 drug-involved overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2021. This
includes both illicit and prescription drugs.
Deaths involving drug overdose from prescription drugs rose
from 3,442 in 1999 to 17,029 in 2017, said in a report.
Between 2017 to 2019, the number of deaths decreased to
14,139; but increased to 16,416 in 2020.
By 2021, the number of deaths slightly increased to 16,7706
drug overdoses from prescription opioids.
Although medical marijuana is legal in the state of Texas,
it is still very limited.
But recreational marijuana is banned outside of some
products with synthetic forms of THC, which is the part that gives a high.
According to a study at the University of Houston, out of
1200 adults, 4 out of 5 adults surveyed said they would support an expanded
medical marijuana program,
They also said they would be in favor of decriminalizing
marijuana possession, and two-thirds of them said they would support legalizing
recreational adult use, according to Austin Bureau writer Edward McKinley.
Texas lawmakers are also considering legislation that
decriminalizes possession of marijuana.
Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, authored HB 218 to decriminalize
The bill was approved unanimously by the House Criminal
Jurisprudence Committee in early March.
By a 9-0 vote, the legislation says law enforcement “May not
arrest the person and shall issue the person a citation.”
Similar cannabis decriminalization legislation have been
passed by the House of Representatives in the past two legislative sessions in
2019 and 2021.