Texas lawmakers introduce bills to legalize medical marijuana
Texas lawmakers introduced comprehensive medical marijuana legislation Friday that would allow patients suffering from serious conditions — including cancer and seizure disorders — to access the plant with a doctor's prescription.
Rep. Marisa Márquez, D-El Paso, introduced House Bill 3785, and Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, introduced a companion bill in the Senate to remove barriers between patients and treatment, according to Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy.
“By continuing to deny access to patients, we limit the rights of families to seek the best possible treatment for conditions that do not respond to other drugs or therapies," Rep. Márquez said in a news release. "We should create paths, and not obstacles, in allowing doctors to recommend medicine that has been shown to work."
The House and Senate bills differ from previous proposals that would allow access to cannabidiol (CBD) oils with little or no THC, the chemical that gives users their high.
“Obviously this is a conservative state, so some are concerned about coming forward on something that’s not traditionally a conservative issue,” Heather Fazio, the Texas political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in an interview with Yahoo News.
Still, she says, fiscal conservatives interested in small government and liberal activists passionate about social justice are finding common ground in marijuana legalization.
“It’s really sweeping the nation. People are realizing this plant is not all the government has told us it is,” Fazio said in an interview with Yahoo News. “The information is available on the Internet, and everyone has access to learn for themselves — rather than hearing from politicians, some skewed study, or law enforcement.”
Some Texans have already moved to states where medical marijuana is legal.
US Senators Make Historic Move to Legalize Medical Marijuana
United States Senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) introduced a bipartisan bill this morning to end the war on medical marijuana.
The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act would downgrade pot from first to second on the federal government’s official list of dangerous drugs, ease cannabis industry banking woes, and reform the government's biased pot research mission. Doctors working for the Department of Veterans Affairs could recommend it for certain conditions.
"Today we join together to say enough is enough," said Booker. "These laws must change. ... High-trained officials in our country … are unable to prescribe and recommend drugs that will alleviate the pain and suffering of their patients."
"Research has been prevented by [current federal law]," said Paul.
Gillibrand spoke about a young girl named Morgan Hintz of North Salem, New York with Dravet's Syndrome. Medical marijuana has been shown to control intractable seizures. "[The Hintz's] feel the real pain for the current federal laws as it relates to medicine that their doctors have prescribed. They are simply asking Congress to do its job to take care of America's kids.
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