Many of you have been closely following HB 1535, authored by Chairwoman Klick, which would expand the Texas Compassionate Use Program and qualify more patients for medical cannabis. This legislation would have added chronic pain, all forms of cancer, and PTSD, while allowing the Department of State Health Services to add new qualifying conditions through their administrative rule-making process. HB 1535 would also have raised the THC cap to 5 percent and would have created “Institutional Review Boards” which could add new qualifying conditions, facilitate research, and track the impact of medical cannabis on patients participating in the program.
However, the Senate stripped out chronic pain, the administrative addition of qualifying conditions, and reduced the THC cap to 1 percent. With only 3 days left in session, Chairwoman Klick has decided against going through the potentially time consuming Conference Committee and has accepted the Senate changes. This means that HB 1535’s final version, which now heads to the Governor’s desk, increases the THC cap from 0.5 percent to 1 percent, allows patients with PTSD and all forms of cancer to qualify, and facilitates research programs.
While these are extremely important changes, we are saddened to see such integral elements removed from the legislation. We are encouraged by broadened efforts but will continue to advocate for a robust program which allows doctors to decide which conditions and symptoms could benefit from medical cannabis, removing the arbitrary THC cap, and solidifying patient protections.