Texas Medical Marijuana Bills to be Heard by House Panel Today

Texas Medical Marijuana Bills to be Heard by House Panel Today

Texans suffering from chronic pain, seizures and other debilitating disorders will ask lawmakers Tuesday to support legislation that would allow them to use marijuana to treat their symptoms.

A proposal by Rep. Marisa Márquez, D-El Paso, would legalize marijuana for medical use and set up a licensing system for growers and dispensaries.

Chair of the House Public Health Committee Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, put medical marijuana-related bills on Tuesday’s schedule the day after veterans came to the Capitol to publicly ask her to give the proposals a hearing.

The veterans met with lawmakers on Wednesday and said marijuana helped curb the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and injuries sustained during their military service.

Crownover told The News in March that she believed attempts to legalize medical marijuana would be unsuccessful in the House.

Two other related proposals are scheduled to be heard by the committee Tuesday as well. A bill by Rep. Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin, would provide a defense in court for people using marijuana for medical purposes.

And another more narrowly focused measure by Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, would allow people with intractable epilepsy who haven’t found success with other medications to use a low-THC cannabis. Low-THC cannabis is mostly stripped of the psychoactive chemical in marijuana.

Discussion about marijuana policies has grown this session following a Republican proposal to legalize the drug outright.

Efforts to legalize and reduce penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana have stalled in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. Chairman Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Robstown, has not said when or if he will take a vote on the bills.

Despite some bipartisan support, conservative statewide leaders have said they are unwilling to change current drug laws.

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