Will Governor Abbott Sign the Texas Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill?
The 2021 Texas legislative session has ended, and the expansion of Texas' Compassionate Use program lies in Governor Abbott's hands.
On May 31st, the last day of the Texas Legislative session, Housebill 1535, which expands Texas' Compassionate Use program, was signed in the Senate and sent to Governor Abbott to be signed into law.
I've been following HB 1535, along with several other cannabis bills, hoping that Texas would enter the 21st century and come to the realization that the possession and consumption of cannabis should not be criminalized.
This year, 6 cannabis bills were able to move from the House to the Senate during the legislative session. While 6 may seem like a small number, it's actually a new record. Two of the six bills proposed have actually been passed, and have been sent to Governor Abbott to be signed into law.
HB 1535's initial proposal was amended by the Senate and included the removal of qualifications for those with acute or chronic pain, but offered anyone with PTSD the chance to qualify. The Senate also reduced to proposed THC definition cap from 5% to 1% - only a .5% increase to the original definition of low THC cannabis. Rep. Klick, who authored the bill, chose not to waste time with a conference committee, and the amendments were accepted.
It's been a whirlwind session, with Democrats and Republicans pulling out all the stops to advance or kill several proposed bills. Like a lot of America's youth, the most I knew about bills was what I learned from School House Rock's I'm just a bill educational video. Before, I thought that politics were extremely boring, and definitely not something I was interested in, but my opinion on politics has changed and now being informed is absolutely essential to me.
While the progress is minuscule, I have hope for the next session. Maybe next round we can move up to the 5% THC cap that was initially proposed. There's so much more work ahead of Texas.