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AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Legislation to expand access to medical cannabis for Texans with chronic pain will die if a Texas Senate committee does not pass it by Wednesday.
HB 1805 by Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, passed the Texas House 127-19 on April 12. It has been awaiting action in the Texas Senate Committee on Water, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs since May 3. Wednesday is the last day the Senate can pass bills.
Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, has no plans to hold another hearing for that committee this session. Any bills left waiting to be considered are practically dead.
“Maybe we’ll have an interim charge. I hope so. We need to have a conversation,” Sen. Perry told Nexstar on Tuesday.
The legislation would allow Texans living with chronic pain or other debilitating medical conditions to get a prescription for low-THC medical cannabis products like edibles and oils. Current law limits eligible patients to those with epilepsy, cancer, autism, multiple sclerosis, and other incurable neurodegenerative diseases.
The bill would also raise the amount of THC allowed per dose to 10 milligrams. Current law limits THC dosage to 1% by weight.
Patients benefitting from medical cannabis stressed the urgency of this legislation for other Texans who do not yet qualify.
Barry Freeman is a Waco-area veteran living with PTSD, cancer, and chronic pain from fifteen serious surgeries. He said no treatment eased his pain until he tried CBD.
“I was in unbearable pain. And by the time I got the dosage in me, another 45 minutes to an hour, and I could feel all that pain going away,” Freeman said. “That’s how urgent it is. There’s people out there right now in worse condition than I am that need it. It could make a difference in their life within one hour.”
Freeman uses a THC tincture produced by Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation, one of the only medical cannabis producers in the state. He hopes skeptical legislators change their minds before the deadline for bill passage hits.
“Not only would it help the people, which is what they’re supposed to be doing, it would also help the government because they regulate it,” he said. “They’re gonna get their share of the funds from activity and they can use the funds they get to do more testing and things that they need to answer the questions they have.”
HB 1805 is dead without an abrupt change of course in Sen. Perry’s committee. However, most legislators have expressed their support for medical cannabis in previous votes. The bill’s provisions could survive if amended onto similar legislation before the session ends on May 29.