RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas â€“ The State Legislature and Governor Greg Abbott have taken another step to making medical marijuana legal in Texas. It came with the signing of an expansion of medical cannabis into law.
Advocates say itâ€™s a good step, but it still leaves many medical conditions out of the picture for legal use.
Mike Thompson is a four-time cancer survivor who took prescription opioids for the chronic pain from dozens of surgeries and a facial reconstruction.
â€śAfter taking them for five straight years, I became addicted, I never overused them, I never did anything illegal to get them. It was just the process of going to the doctor and not having anything else.â€ť Says Mike Thompson.
Heâ€™s tried CBD oil out of state and has been advocating to expand access to medical cannabis in Texas.
Under the 2015 Texas compassionate use law, only those with intractable epilepsy can be prescribed CBD oil. But, once House Bill 3703 goes into effect, those with terminal cancer, multiple sclerosis, autism, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, seizure disorders, incurable neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimerâ€™s and Parkinsonâ€™s can get low THC CBD oil too.
â€śWhile I do think itâ€™s a misstep to remove the cancer provision and the PTSD provision, there are still a number of patient publics that can now have access to this medication.â€ť Says Mike Thompson.
Thompson and several other people who backed this bill tell us in the end it didnâ€™t expand medical cannabis nearly as much as they were hoping.
In a debate last fall, Governor Abbott said heâ€™s heard some strong arguments about why those with PTSD should get access but, â€śIâ€™m still not convinced yetâ€ť Said Governor Abbott.
Nevertheless, Thompson thinks the new law the governor signed is a step in the right direction. He and other advocates say theyâ€™ll be back for the 2021 legislative session to try and expand medical cannabis access to others with chronic illness.
â€śWhatâ€™s frustrating is, not only as a native Texan, but as a four-time cancer survivor that I still canâ€™t legally have access to it in Texas. But, weâ€™re gonna get there.â€ť Said Mike Thompson.