Stephen Carter 2019-01-07
Texas legislators begin their 2019 legislative session on Tuesday this week with over a dozen cannabis related bills having already been filed for consideration.
With eight pieces of legislation in the House, five in the Senate, and possibly more in the works, there will be no shortage of items to discuss before the session ends on May 27, 2019.
Topics include marijuana penalty reduction, changing how concentrated forms of cannabis are measured for legal charges, legalizing whole plant medical cannabis, affirmative court defenses for medical patients, hemp legalization, and adult consumption legalization.
With the federal government recently legalizing hemp nationally, the Texas legislature is expected to legalize the plant for Texas farmers as well.
Also expected is legislation which will expand the state’s current CBD extract program to allow access for more patients. Currently only those with intractable epilepsy are qualified to receive the CBD extract from the cannabis plant.
Focus will likely be kept to expanding the qualifying conditions for the current limited program. This will happen despite patients from around the state having made multiple trips to the capitol over the years to plead their case for a whole plant medical cannabis program, much like what can be found in other states.
Further, some groups may be headed to Austin to persuade lawmakers to make an exception for a single group of patients such as those with autism, rather than advocate for a more inclusive program.
Senator Jose Menendez, a Democrat who represents the San Antonio area, was vocal when he filed a medical cannabis bill in November 2018 in anticipation of this year’s session.
“Doctors, not politicians, should determine what is best for Texas patients,” said Senator Menendez. “Studies have proven that cannabis is a legitimate medicine that can help a variety of