Supporters of HB 2107 and SB 269 call on Public Health Chairman Four Price and Health and Human Services Chairman Charles Schwertner to schedule hearings on the bills
A group of patients, caregivers, and medical professionals gathered at the Texas State Capitol on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to allow hearings on critical medical marijuana legislation.
The group called on House Public Health Committee Chairman Four Price and Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Charles Schwertner to schedule hearings on HB 2107 and SB 269, respectively.The measures would fix the currently unworkable and unnecessarily restrictive Texas Compassionate Use Program and make it more inclusive.
The Compassionate Use Act allows patients with epilepsy access to low-THC marijuana and CBD oil, both of which have been proven to prevent seizures and replace harsh epilepsy drugs that come with damaging side effects, reports Lauren L’Amie at The Daily Dot. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who signed the bill into law in June 2015, said it would provide “healing and hope for children,” although he felt it necessary to reiterate that its signing does not open the door for recreational marijuana use in Texas.
Heather Fazio, the director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, said that despite Abbott’s show of support, the regulatory nature of this legislation does virtually nothing to help the very few patients that it claims to benefit.“Since concluding my service to the U.S. Army, I’ve cared for and treated children with special needs, and I’ve seen what traditional medicines can do to their already struggling bodies and ability to develop cognitively,” said Amanda Berard, a pediatric nurse and veteran with PTSD who lives in San Antonio. “Children in other states are given an opportunity to thrive with the use of cannabis, which is often a safer and more effective medication.” “My son lives with severe autism and traditional medications have simply not provided the kind of relief he needs to control his aggressive and self-injurious behavior,” said Amy Fawell of Austin, mother of a child with autism. “Medical cannabis is helping families in other states, and we’re desperate to see if it could help our sweet boy.”
“Patients in most states are allowed to access medical cannabis when their physicians feel it is medically indicated,” said Dr. Robert Marks, an Austin-based anesthesiology and pain management doctor. “If it were legal and accessible in Texas, many of my patients, such as those battling cancer, could benefit from this medicine.”
“Opponents of this bill are trying to claim the moral high ground by saying they want to prevent drug abuse,” said Cherie Rineker, a terminal cancer patient who lives in Lake Jackson. “There is no morality in keeping medicine from sick and dying patients who can benefit from medical cannabis.”