It started in 2015 with the passage of the Texas Compassionate Use Program (TCUP) which allows low-THC medical cannabis for only one qualifying condition, intractable epilepsy. 

The legislation was limited, so much so, that the very first Texan to receive a legal shipment of medical cannabis was a nine-year-old girl in January 2018. 

House Bill 2107 was an upgrade attempt in 2017. It received a great deal of support but ultimately fell short of passage.  

State Rep. Eddie Lucio, III.

Texas is losing thousands of individuals to other states that have passed legislation approving medical cannabis. These ‘medical refugees’ are uprooting their families to relocate so their loved ones can benefit from this therapeutic medicine. We need to be more inclusive and comprehensive with this issue. These are good people who are leaving our great state. They deserve better options for their loved ones right here in Texas.

House Bill 1365 is currently being considered during this 86th Legislative session. 

The bill amends the health and safety code to allow possession of medical cannabis for individuals with debilitating conditions such as cancer, PTSD, autism, neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, and Crohn’s Disease, among others. 

This bill will not only allow treatment for these diseases, but it will also allow for the production and distribution of the cannabis by state-licensed companies under strict conditions. 

HB 1365 also encourages medical research by creating a therapeutic cannabis research program overseen by a medical cannabis review board comprised of medical specialists. This board would approve research, review research and based on what they learn approve medical cannabis formulations for patients in the Compassionate Use Program. Current law limits the medicine to CBD oil only, but HB 1365 would allow other forms of the medicine as a physician deems necessary. We should be able to trust our physicians, considering their medical background, to know what is best for their patients. 

HB 1365 also grants protection to parents and caregivers who provide their children with medical cannabis per their doctor’s recommendation. Parents should have the right to provide security and adequate medical treatment to their child in need. The bill also grants protection, from legal action, to dispensing organizations, cannabis testing facilities, and registered patients.

Ultimately, this would benefit countless citizens acrossTexas, especially in my district, by helping improve their quality of life when they need it the most.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column by state Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, is part of a series of op-eds by members of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. MALC members will be submitting columns during the 86th Legislative Session. Rep. Lucio can be reached via [email protected].