Texas Senate Advances Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill, Rejects Inclusion of PTSD

Medical marijuana patients scored a tentative win on Wednesday when the Texas Senate passed a revised version of a house bill that would add several qualifying health conditions to the state’s requirements for access to medical cannabis.

Now individuals with all forms of epilepsy, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, ALS, terminal cancer, autism, and incurable neurodegenerative diseases would be able to access to the medicine with a doctor’s approval under House Bill 3703. Previously, the state’s Compassionate Use Program only allowed people with severe forms of epilepsy to access the drug. For all medical marijuana patients, the legislation cuts the requirement of two licensed neurologists for entry to the program in half.

“This bill is about compassion,” commented Senator and emergency room doctor Donna Campbell, who sponsored the bill at the Senate level and who made clear during floor discussion of the legislation that she is not in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana. “For patients participating in the [Compassionate Use Program], they have had a remarkable and life-altering change because of this. That’s compassion.”

To many marijuana advocacy groups’ surprise, the Senate passed the bill unanimously — but not without making some significant changes to its scope. The new version

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