Austin, Texas – A bill which would expand Texas’ medical marijuana program has passed out of the House Committee on Public Health with unanimous support.
HB 1365, filed by Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D-Brownsville), would expand the Texas Compassionate Use Program (TCUP) to include more qualifying conditions and would allow more doctors to work with patients in the program. The legislation currently has the bi-partisan support of 56 state legislators as both authors and coauthors.
Conditions which would now qualify for participation in TCUP include cancer, autism, PTSD, and neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Tourrette syndrome. Other diseases include Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, muscular dystrophy, and multiple sclerosis.
Beyond specifically designated medical conditions, the bill also covers endocannabinoid deficiency, cachexia or wasting syndrome, neuropathy, severe nausea, seizures, severe and persistent muscle spasms, tic disorders, and any other approved medical condition or symptom caused by the treatment of a medical condition.
Since its inception in 2015, TCUP has been extremely limited in scope, serving only patients with intractable epilepsy who have already ruled out other medications, and permitting only certain specialist doctors to refer their patients to the program. This has caused very few patients, about 500, and roughly 50 doctors, to participate in TCUP. It also capped the THC percentage at 0.5 percent.
The bill was amended before being passed, and now includes establishing a Cannabis Therapeutic Research Review Board (CTRRB), adding an important in-state research program and requiring participating doctors to be educated on medical cannabis. The bill also offers patient protections such as parental rights, and protections for students