LAKE JACKSON — Medicinal cannabis advocate Cherie Rineker believes she is gaining momentum in the second-biggest battle of her life — convincing legislators to legalize the plant-based treatment for cancer patients like herself.
Rineker is awaiting responses from state senators Joan Huffman, R-Houston, and Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio, hoping her testimony as a cancer patient will open doors after meeting last month with state Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton.
Current law allows only those with intractable epilepsy to legally use cannaboid oil. The program is monitored, enforced and regulated by the Texas Department of Public Safety, according to a press release from Menendez’s office.
Rineker was diagnosed with a bone-eating cancer known as multiple myeloma in 2012 and has tried many prescription drugs to counteract side effects form treatment, including nausea and loss of appetite. Both side effects could be easily remedied with medicinal-grade marijuana, she says.
Last month, Bonnen went to Rineker’s home to speak about the topic, she said.
“She expresses herself with raw honesty, grace, kindness and an open mind to the contentious nature of this issue, which has garnered my utmost respect,” Bonnen said in a statement about their meeting.
Menendez authored Senate Bill 269, which would expand who can qualify to use medicinal marijuana under the Texas Compassionate Use Program. The legislation would allow cancer patients, veterans with PTSD and people with other serious illnesses to access the drug under a doctor’s consultation.
“I have no prediction as to whether any particular bill