Late in the evening Tuesday, May 2nd, the House Public Health Committee held a hearing for HB 2107 which would make the Compassionate Use Program more inclusive for patients with debilitating medical conditions. Many patients stayed late into the evening to provide powerful and emotional testimony.
Veterans demanded access for service related disabilities. Doctors spoke to the efficacy and safety profile of cannabis. After a powerful hearing with targeted testimony, the authors for the bill jumped from 5 to 76! This is historic and unprecedented in Texas. Read this joint letter from the authors.
Please take a moment to thank Chairman Price and the committee members for holding the special vote and thank Rep Lucio III (D) and Rep Isacc (R) for their tenacious work to get this bill moving! We request that you EMAIL and not CALL as they are working on the next steps for the bill.
Rep Lucio III, the author of the bill, presented a committee substitute. At this time, we believe the following to be what was amended.
We are very happy to be able to retain key protections for patients in Texas as follows: *allows doctors to recommend whole plant medical cannabis to patients, including flower, concentrates and infused products; *amends the flawed “prescription” language to “recommends”; *increases access to an extensive list of conditions; *allows for independent testing; *protects non-resident cardholders and allows them access to their medical cannabis; *allows conditions to be added biannually through petitioning a medical panel; *goes into effect Sept 2017.
It appears that the following clauses were removed from the text of the bill: *protection of parental rights for those using or administering medical cannabis; *protects patients from being charged with paraphernalia; *caps licensing fees at $5,000; *allows patient or registered caregiver to grow a minimum of 6 plants in a secured location. There is also a new clause that says cannabis must be must be administered by a means other than smoking.
We are very happy that Texas was able to hold this vote and advance this bill. While the original bill is preferable, HB 2107 as offered will still dramatically increase patient access to whole plant medical cannabis and create a better functioning program for patients that have been left behind by the Texas Compassionate Use Program (TCUP). Read our opinion piece on TCUP from last session here.
We must continue to educate, mobilize and be active during these last weeks of the session. Please stay tuned for more updates and action alerts.