Last week, we announced that Texans were making a push for the decriminalization of marijuana possession with HB 81. While HB 81 is aiming for decriminalized possession, HB 2107 is a bill that would drastically overhaul the state's currently "unworkable" medicinal marijuana program which is "unnecessarily restrictive."
According to the Marijuana Policy Project, "the number of representatives signed on as either joint or co-authors jumped from five to more than 70" last Wednesday. After hearing testimonies from patients, caregivers, healthcare providers and more last week, the Texas House of Representatives Committee on Public Health approved the bill. Now HB 2107 will be passed through to the Calendars Committee, which will get to decide whether or not the bill receives a full House of Representatives vote.
If passed, HB 2107 "would increase the number of medical conditions that qualify for the Texas Compassionate Use Program and allow patients to participate if they receive an official recommendation from their doctors. It would also improve the variety of medical marijuana available to patients. The program currently only permits patients suffering from intractable epilepsy to access specific types of medical marijuana that have been found to be ineffective for some patients. It also requires doctors to “prescribe” medical marijuana, which is not possible under federal law."
Heather Fazio, Texas political director for the Marijuana Policy Project commented, “This is critical legislation that could dramatically help thousands of patients and families throughout Texas. It will make the Compassionate Use Program workable and more inclusive for patients with debilitating medical conditions. We are seeing an unprecedented level of support for medical cannabis legislation in the House of Representatives, and we hope the Calendars Committee will make it a priority to schedule a vote on this important bill. Seriously ill Texans should not have to wait another couple years for the medical cannabis program to be fixed. Lawmakers have an opportunity to do it now, and we hope they will do everything in their power to capitalize on it.“
Anyone looking to get more active in their support of Texas' cannabis legal reforms should check out Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy. The group is a coalition of organizations, activists, and community leaders dedicated to realizing effective, efficient, and evidence-based marijuana policies in Texas.