MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN TEXAS WITH SB 269
In January of 2017, SB 269 was sent to the Heath and Human Services Committee of the Texas Legislature for review. Filed by Senator José Menéndez (D), the proposed legislation would expand the compassionate use program beyond low-THC (CBD). Legal exceptions would allow medical grade cannabis under strict consultation and recommendation of a doctor. SB 269 would also increase the number of debilitating conditions that qualify for the Texas Compassionate Use Program (T-CUP).
“Doctors, not politicians, should be determining what is best for Texas patients,” said Senator Menéndez. “This is legitimate medicine that can help a variety of sick people, from the grandmother suffering from cancer to the veteran coping with PTSD after returning home from war.”
“Doctors, not politicians, should be determining what is best for Texas patients,”
IS T-CUP A VIABLE PROGRAM?
If SB269, or any other medical cannabis legislation, does the State of Texas have the ability to administer the program? Under the current legislative plan, the Department of Public Safety would continue oversight, and monitor, enforce, and regulate the program. But the current program is ineffective: Even those who qualify for the program claim that the quality of the product and dosages are often inadequate.
“My son Miles would qualify under the T.CUP program.” states Debbie Tolany in support of the bill. “However, it’s not an effective treatment for his disease because he needs stronger and more reliable medicine than what is allowed.” Tolany supports Senator Menéndez’s bill because under current regulations, her son still suffers. He needs medical cannabis.”
In addition to intractable epilepsy, cannabis has been shown to treat PTSD symptoms, without the side effects of dangerous anti-depressant medications. Texas is home to 1.7 million veterans who are left out of the current program. After years of sacrifice and valor, the state needs to honor our nation’s heroes by granting them access to medicine that would treat PTSD, TBI, and other wounds of war.
MEDICAL CANNABIS IS A SAFER ALTERNATIVE
Medical cannabis has proven to be a safer and more effective drug than many prescription painkillers currently offered. “Psychotropic and opiate based drugs have lasting and dangerous side effects for many veterans,” said Kate Cochran-Morgan, retired Hospital Corpsman Fleet Marine Force 3rd Class, Petty Officer. “As a service member in the United States Military, I fought for our country’s freedoms.” Cochran-Morgan supports and advocates expansion of the Compassionate Use program. “My fellow veterans and I should have the freedom to use medical cannabis to treat the diseases that still haunt us.”
CANNABIS: A TOOL TO FIGHT THE OPIATE EPIDEMIC
The Texas Compassionate Use Program statistics shows a correlation between a reduction in prescription drug abuse by allowing alternative medicine. “Doctors should be able to recommend cannabis to their patients if they think it will help alleviate their suffering,” said Amanda Berard, a retired Army medic and current nurse in San Antonio. “This is especially true with regard to treating chronic and severe pain. We are facing an opiate epidemic in terms of addiction and overdose death.” Berard also notes that states allowing access to medical cannabis for chronic pain have seen a reduction in the number of overdoses.
“COMPASSIONATE USE” IS AN INSIDIOUS TERM OF PROHIBITION
The term itself begs the question of the intent of “compassionate use” laws. “Compassion should not be exclusive” Senator Menendéz claims. Yet these programs are ineffective and restrictive, offering little comfort or compassion. It does allow a state to offer a pathetic (pathos) appeal to anti-prohibitionists, while maintaining its 20th century stance on cannabis. Senate Bill 269 will provide real relief for those who need it most .
“It is time Texas steps up to the plate on behalf of our sickest patients.” – Sen. Jose Menendez