Two new pieces of limited medical marijuana legislation, known as the Compassionate Use Act, were just introduced in Texas for the 2015 session. One bill is sponsored by Senator Kevin Eltife of Tyler, and the other was introduced by Representative Stephanie Klick of Fort Worth.
The legislation, packaged between two bills — one in the House (HB 892) and one in the Senate (SB 339) — establishes a system for regulating the use, possession, production and distribution of cannabidiol oil for intractable epilepsy patients in Texas. Only doctors specializing in the treatment of epilepsy and neurologists will be permitted to recommend cannabidiol oil to patients.
Cannabidiol is one of the many medically beneficial cannabinoids occurring naturally in the marijuana plant. For this purpose, only the cannabidiol is extracted from the cannabis to make the oil used for these targeted cannabinoid treatments. The other cannabinoids, like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is known to produce psychoactive effects, are separated and discarded.
In recent years, several state legislatures have passed similar cannabidiol oil bills that are less effective, and these Texas lawmakers have learned from the mistakes that have landed lawmakers in states like Kentucky and Iowa in the hot seat of scrutiny.
Most of the other states with such legislation have legalized the possession and use of the cannabinoid oil without establishing a way for patients to access it through state-licensed producers or distributors.
These bills, collectively, establish a process for in-state production and distribution of the oil, so patients will not be forced to break the law by importing the oil from other states in which it is already legal, like Colorado.
These bills seem to have been inspired by the youngest medical marijuana advocate in Texas, Alexis Bortell (photo above). Alexis suffers from intractable epilepsy, and experienced no relief from the use of the pharmaceuticals that doctors prescribed. The only treatment that significantly reduced her seizures and improved her symptoms was the use of targeted cannabinoid therapy in the form of cannabidiol oil, for which she had to travel with her father to Colorado.
After seeing what relief the cannabidiol oil brought to her symptoms, Alexis began speaking at medical marijuana rallies in Texas to spread the word of her success in hopes of inspiring a sensible medical marijuana policy in the Lone Star State. Alexis was quoted as saying,
“I don’t wanna leave Texas. I’m a Texas girl!”
Unfortunately, after being back in Texas without access to the cannabis concentrate oil treatments, Alexis’s health took a turn for the worse in early February, and the family announced plans to move to Colorado for reliable and safe access to medicine.
Now, just weeks after that announcement, these bills to legalize the in-state possession, use, production and distribution of the cannabinoid therapy has been introduced for the 2015 legislative session. It may not be in time for Alexis to remain in the state, but it is definitely a step in the right direction for helping the 149,000 Texans suffering from intractable epilepsy.
photo credit: knowyourgrow