Earlier this week, the Texas Legislature adjourned after its 140-day legislative session. This year's session brought successes and setbacks. Prohibitionists went to great lengths to keep the status quo and some of their reefer madness unfortunately worked.
Industrial Hemp Legalization – HB 1325 legalizes industrial hemp in Texas and establishes a regulatory structure so that Texans may soon start growing hemp.
Limited Low-THC Medical Cannabis Expansion – HB 3703 removes the two-physician requirement for a medical marijuana card and expands the qualifying conditions to include: epilepsy, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, ALS, autism, terminal cancer, and incurable neurodegenerative diseases. It does not change the 0.5% THC cap. HB 3703 is currently on Gov. Greg Abbott's desk.
What Fell Short:
Marijuana Decriminalization – HB 63, which would have replaced possible jail time with a fine, passed in the Texas House but stalled in the Texas Senate after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made it his mission to kill the bill.
Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Expansion – HB 1365 would have expanded qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, increased the number of dispensaries, and established a research review board that could allow different amounts of cannabinoids. This bill passed in the Texas House but did not receive a hearing in the Senate.
Unfortunately, the Texas Legislature won't be back in session until 2021. That means two more years of patients suffering and needless arrests. We want to congratulate everyone who worked so hard to make progress, including Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy.
Support for marijuana reform is at an all-time high so let's keep our chins up and keep pushing. Together, we can change marijuana laws in Texas.
UPDATE: The bill was voted down in the House.
Last week, a bipartisan group of North Dakota state representatives introduced compassionate legislation that would establish a workable medical marijuana program in North Dakota. Under HB 1430, seriously ill patients would be able to possess and cultivate a limited amount of marijuana. It would also create a system of registered medical marijuana providers to ensure patients have safe and reliable access.
If you are a North Dakota resident, please tell your elected representatives to support this compassionate legislation.
Twenty-three states and Washington, D.C. have compassionate laws on the books that protect individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS, cancer, ALS, and other serious medical conditions from arrest and prosecution for using marijuana medicinally under their doctors’ recommendations. Why should the seriously ill in North Dakota not be afforded the same protections? We trust our physicians to prescribe highly addictive and potentially lethal drugs to treat many of these same conditions, so why should they be prevented from recommending marijuana, which has never caused a lethal overdose, if they think it would work best? It's clear now more than ever: North Dakota should enact a workable medical marijuana program.
Earlier this week, the Utah House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation that would allow individuals suffering from intractable epilepsy to possess and use certain marijuana extracts if their neurologist recommends its use. Patients would only be able to obtain and use marijuana extracts that contain no more than 0.3% THC and more than 15% CBD. Although this law leaves the vast majority of patients behind, it is certainly an improvement on the status quo.
If it becomes law, H.B. 105 would only provide protection for cardholders who use and possess extracts that have been analyzed for cannabinoid content by labs approved by the Department of Health. Minors would only be approved for the program if their parent or guardian has oversight. Passage of this legislation could bring relief to many families grappling with severe epilepsy.
Although the bill does not cover patients suffering from MS, ALS, cancer, HIV, and a host of other serious conditions that respond well to marijuana, it would be a positive step forward.
On Tuesday, reported in the New Times Broward-Palm Beach, the Florida State Attorney’s office in Manatee Country dropped all charges against Cathy Jordan’s husband, Robert, once it was established that Cathy needs marijuana for medical reasons.
Law enforcement officers raided the Jordan home on February 25 after a state employee who was visiting a neighbor spotted some marijuana plants on their property. After confiscating the plants, deputies referred the case to prosecutors, listing Robert for potential cultivation charges.
Cathy, the namesake to medical marijuana legislation, the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act, has been using marijuana to alleviate her ALS-related symptoms since 1989. The bill, which would allow patients to possess up to four ounces of marijuana and grow up to eight marijuana plants, has stalled for the year in Florida’s GOP-controlled legislature.
If you are a Florida resident, please contact your lawmakers and ask them to support medical marijuana.