Enlarge photo illustration by: Todd Wiseman
A bill that that would allow epilepsy patients in Texas to use medicinal oils containing a therapeutic component found in marijuana was considered by state lawmakers in an emotional hearing on Tuesday.
House Bill 892 would legalize oils containing CBD, a non-euphoric component of marijuana known to treat epilepsy and other chronic medical conditions. By 2018, the measure would allow the state to regulate and distribute the oils to epilepsy patients whose symptoms have not responded to federally approved medication. The measure was left pending by the House Committee on Public Health.
At the hearing, supporters of the proposal, also known as the Compassionate Use Act, recounted the seizures endured by children who they say could benefit from derivatives of medical marijuana. But opponents of the bill, including representatives of law enforcement agencies, expressed concerns that increased access to any component of marijuana would jeopardize public safety.
“This is a focused bill designed to give people with intractable epilepsy another option when others have failed,” the bill’s author, state Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, told the committee. “[CBD oils] have no street value, and these families have no other options.”
The representative’s interest in medical marijuana came after she met constituents in her district who have children suffering from Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that begins in infancy.
“If CBD weren’t available in the number of states it is available in, we wouldn’t be having this conversation today,” said M. Scott Perry, a pediatric neurologist with Cook Children’s in Fort Worth, testifying in favor of the bill. “The human data on CBD use is very encouraging. What is frustrating is that I can’t prescribe CBD to patients in my state, in Texas.”
Texas is one of 16 states where marijuana is illegal for medical and recreational use. In recent years, 13 states have legalized CBD oil for certain medical conditions. Twenty-three other states and the District of Columbia have laws allowing broader medical marijuana use.
“If you don’t like the way [medical marijuana] is regulated in Colorado, don’t regulate it that way,” said Paige Figi, a Colorado resident who came to Texas to testify in favor of the legislation.
Her 8-year-old daughter, Charlotte – who now has a strain of medical cannabis, Charlotte’s Web, named after …Read More