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Texas Governor Signs Bill to Expand Medical Cannabis Program

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 3703 on June 14, which allows for the expansion of medical cannabis conditions in the state’s program.

Those who suffer from medical seizure disorder, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, terminal cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, autism and ALS to register as a medical cannabis patient. According to The Dallas Morning News, this bill goes into effect immediately and allows specialty doctors to begin prescribing cannabis. Prior to the passage of HB-3703, only those who suffered from intractable epilepsy were able to obtain medical cannabis.

Cannabis in the form of oil or inhalers is the only legal way to consume in the state of Texas. Smoking cannabis is not currently legal. However, many more Texan residents will now be able to benefit from medical cannabis. “Cannabis is effective medicine for many patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions,” said Heather Fazio, director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy. “HB-3703 represents a positive step toward a functional medical cannabis program, but sadly, it still leaves behind millions of Texas families that could benefit from legal access.”

The success of HB-3704 is largely in thanks to Stephanie Klick, a registered nurse and the bill’s author. She’s also well-known for her efforts in working on the state’s original Texas Compassionate Care Act as well. In partnership with the bill’s sponsor, Donna Campbell, there is hope that many more conditions will be added in the future. “I’m narrowly crafting this so it gives us some assurance and so we don’t race into something with unintended consequences,” said Campbell.

Gov. Abbott also signed House Bill 1325 last week as well, which defines which CBD products are legal and specifies legalizes hemp cultivation. It also went into effect immediately after signing occurred. Texas is expected to become a leader in hemp cultivation in the future, according to advocates.

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