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Texas: State Could Lose Millions Of Tax Dollars If Medical Marijuana Not Implemented

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Governor Greg Abbott signed the Texas Compassionate Care Act into law on June 1, 2015, but it looks now as if the state may not implement its medical marijuana program, and could miss out on collecting millions of dollars in potential tax revenues.

A major obstacle delaying the program in Texas is that the law requires a doctor to write a prescription for medical marijuana. The problem is that doctors can't legally write a prescription for marijuana, because it remains federally illegal, and a controlled substance. Also, prescriptions must be filled by a pharmacy, not a dispensary. The law would need to be amended so that doctors could recommend medical marijuana, not prescribe it. Heather Fazio of Texans for Responsible Marijuana said that legal medical cannabis in Texas may "not ever get off the ground, if we're not able to change that language in the law."

So far, the only disease approved to be treated by medical marijuana in Texas is intractable epilepsy, leaving cancer patients, pain sufferers and veterans with post traumatic stress disorder unable to legally get the medicine. A bill has been introduced in both the Texas House and Senate to expand the list of qualifying conditions.

Texas: Veterans Gather At State Capitol To Launch 'Operation Trapped' Supporting Medical Marijuana

RxCannabis[TexansForResponsibleMarijuanaPolicy]

At Veterans Day event, Air Force, Army, and Navy veterans urge state officials to pass legislation allowing access to medical marijuana — a safer alternative to many prescription drugs — for PTSD, TBI, and other service-related conditions

Texas veterans and their supporters on Wednesday -- Veterans Day -- gathered in front of the Vietnam Veterans Monument at the Texas State Capitol to announce the launch of a campaign advocating for comprehensive medical marijuana legislation.

Operation Trapped, backed by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, is a veteran-based campaign to build support for legislation allowing access to medical marijuana — a safer alternative to prescription drugs — for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), chronic pain, and other service-related conditions.

“Veterans have sacrificed greatly to serve and protect our nation,” said David Bass of Killeen, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom II. “It’s time to serve and protect the many soldiers who have returned home with debilitating conditions that would benefit greatly from medical marijuana. The goal of this campaign is to give those veterans a voice and get Texas legislators to listen.”

At the event, the campaign displayed several empty prescription pill bottles it has collected from supportive Texas veterans to represent those who are suffering from serious medical conditions that could be relieved by medical marijuana.

Texas: Governor To Sign Limited Medical Marijuana Bill Into Law

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SB 339 is intended to allow access to low-THC marijuana extracts for qualifying seizure patients; advocates hope to fix the flawed measure in next legislative session

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is scheduled to sign a bill into law Monday that recognizes the medical benefits of marijuana. SB 339, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler), is intended to allow patients with intractable seizure conditions to access marijuana extracts containing high levels of cannabidiol (CBD) and only trace levels of THC.

SB 339 requires doctors to “prescribe” low-THC marijuana extracts to patients, which exposes doctors to federal criminal sanctions. By contrast, doctors “recommend” medical marijuana or “certify” or "authorize" patients to use medical marijuana in the 23 states with comprehensive medical marijuana laws and the District of Columbia.

Unlike “prescriptions,” recommendations, certifications and authorizations are federally legal and protected under the First Amendment.

The bill also only allows for extracts with very little THC, and some seizure patients say a greater ratio of THC to CBD is necessary for it to be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of seizures. The bill also fails to allow access to any medical marijuana products for people suffering from other debilitating conditions, such as PTSD, cancer, and multiple sclerosis, for which medical marijuana has been found to have significant medical benefits.

Texas: House Approves Flawed Medical Marijuana Bill; Will Go To Governor For Signature

TexasMedicalMarijuanaPolicyReform[ProgressTexas]

Bill is intended to allow access to low-THC marijuana extracts for qualifying seizure patients; House fails to pass amendment to fix major problem

The Texas State House on Monday approved a bill 96-34 intended to allow qualifying patients with intractable seizure conditions to access a marijuana extract containing high levels of cannabidiol, or CBD, and only trace levels of THC. SB 339, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler), is extremely unlikely to provide patients with relief because it requires doctors to engage in conduct that is prohibited by federal law.

SB 339 previously passed the Senate on May 7. It now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott.

“On a certain level, the legislature should be commended for acknowledging the medical value of marijuana, and it is an historic vote in that sense,” said Heather Fazio, Texas political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “Lawmakers missed several opportunities to amend the bill in ways that could have provided real relief to countless Texans. Not a single patient will be helped by this legislation.”

SB 339 requires doctors to “prescribe” marijuana to patients, which exposes doctors to federal criminal sanctions. By contrast, doctors “recommend” medical marijuana or “certify” patients to use medical marijuana in the 23 states with comprehensive medical marijuana laws and the District of Columbia. Unlike “prescriptions,” recommendations and certifications are federally legal and protected under the First Amendment.

Texas: 77% Support Medical Marijuana; 49% Support Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

An overwhelming 77 percent of Texans, more than three of every four, support legalizing medical marijuana, according to a poll released on Wednesday.

The University of Texas/Texas Tribune survey, which polled 1,200 voters, found just 23 percent of respondents said cannabis should remain illegal in all cases in Texas, reports Kolten Parker at My San Antonio. Almost half of those polled -- 49 percent -- said marijuana should be legal for all adults, including for recreational uses, either in small quantities (32 percent) or any amount (17 percent).

"I'm not surprised at the poll results because people in general understand arresting someone for the use of marijuana is more likely to waste taxpayer dollars and law enforcement's time than to deter use," said Ana Yañez-Correa, executive director of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. "That's why you see a national trend of addressing a person's choice to smoke pot in different ways."

"When people look at the negative financial ramifications for marijuana possession arrests, they see millions of dollars wasted," Yañez-Correa said. "That's why you see libertarians, members of the Tea Party and Democrats all saying the same thing.

"How can we, as a society, deny people who need marijuana for medical treatment?" Yañez-Correa asked.

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