This week marked a huge step toward the expansion of medical cannabis in Texas. After seeing no significant movement in the 2017 session, two bills this week won initial approval from the entire House. Late Monday night, cheers went up from the gallery as the House prepared to vote on Rep. Eddie Lucio III’s HB 1365. The final tally to pass the bill to third reading was 121-23. The following afternoon, the House approved Rep. Stephanie Klick’s HB 3703 in a voice vote. (That same day the House gave final approval to Rep. Lucio’s bill.)
According to the Austin American-Statesman, few things confirm the massive, increasingly mainstream force that has become the global cannabis industry than the deep programming at this year’s SXSW Festival. On the medical side, this continues to be true as well, though Texas remains a bit of an outlier:
“Marijuana for medical purposes has been legalized in 34 states — including all four Texas border states — while 10 states also allow adult recreational use. Texas lawmakers’ lone foray into legalization, a medical cannabis bill called the Compassionate Use Act approved in 2015, is so restrictive and serves so few patients that it isn’t viewed nationally as a significant medical cannabis program.”
That tracks, incidentally with TEAMM’s polling: 73% of Texans support medical cannabis, but that number shoots up to 81% when they learn how restrictive the current law is.
In a new Texas Poll by the Texas Tribune and the University of Texas at Austin, Texans answered all manner of questions about marijuana, including medical cannabis. In fact, the numbers surprised us because they appeared to be low, so we asked our resident expert pollster his take.
You can read it here.
Fort Worth Republican Stephanie Klick was a prime mover behind the Compassionate Use Act from the 2015 session. Find out what is in her new bill to expand access to medical cannabis in this Texas Tribune story–and see how it differs from others at the Lege.