Don’t know that it will get more than just that committee hearing, however.
House Bill 892 would legalize oils containing CBD, a non-euphoric component of marijuana known to treat epilepsy and other chronic medical conditions. By 2018, the measure would allow the state to regulate and distribute the oils to epilepsy patients whose symptoms have not responded to federally approved medication. The measure was left pending by the House Committee on Public Health.
At the hearing, supporters of the proposal, also known as the Compassionate Use Act, recounted the seizures endured by children who they say could benefit from derivatives of medical marijuana. But opponents of the bill, including representatives of law enforcement agencies, expressed concerns that increased access to any component of marijuana would jeopardize public safety.
“This is a focused bill designed to give people with intractable epilepsy another option when others have failed,” the bill’s author, state Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, told the committee. “[CBD oils] have no street value, and these families have no other options.”
The representative’s interest in medical marijuana came after she met constituents in her district who have children suffering from Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that begins in infancy.
“If CBD weren’t available in the number of states it is available in, we wouldn’t be having this conversation today,” said M. Scott Perry, a pediatric neurologist with Cook Children’s in Fort Worth, testifying in favor of the bill. “The human data on CBD use is very encouraging. What is frustrating is that I can’t prescribe CBD to patients in my state, in Texas.”
Opponents of the bill expressed concerns over public safety and increased recreational use of marijuana as an unwanted consequence of increasing access to CBD oils. Others worried that the products would be hard to regulate.
“I am concerned about the other children in the household getting ahold of this medication when the parents aren’t around,” said Denton County Sheriff William Travis, speaking on behalf of the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas. “As a father, I would do anything for my child. But putting low amounts of marijuana oil in a child’s body where the brain is not fully developed is not the way.”
The Texas Medical Association has made clear that it does not support legalizing marijuana for medical use. “There is no validated science to support its use in broad treatment,” the association said in a statement earlier this year.
But some medical marijuana advocates are still reluctant to support the proposed Texas Compassionate Use Act, calling it appeasement legislation that would do little to help Texans with epilepsy — and nothing for those with other diseases, such as cancer, that can be treated with medical marijuana.
See here, here, and here for some background. I’m all about the science, but the TMA’s statement seem way too restrictive to me. Surely there are studies showing the efficacy of marijuana for some things. I favor a much broader loosening of marijuana laws than this, so I’m having a hard time understanding why this tiny baby step is so controversial. What are we really afraid of here? Unfair Park has more.