Texas Governor Signs Bill Expanding State Medical Marijuana Program

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill on Tuesday that expands the state’s medical marijuana program, although cannabis activists say the legislation does not go far enough. The measure, House Bill 1535 (HB 1535), was signed by the Republican governor after lawmakers in the Texas Senate made significant changes to the legislation last month.

Under the bill, patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and all types of cancer will be eligible to use approved medical cannabis products under the Texas Compassionate Use Program. Under current regulations, only intractable epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS, terminal cancer, autism and many seizure disorders are listed as qualifying medical conditions for participation in the program.

HB 1535 also raises the cap on THC in approved medical marijuana formulations to 1 percent by dry weight. Currently, only cannabis medications with a maximum of 0.5 percent THC are permitted under the rules of the program.

An earlier version of the bill that increased the THC limit to 5 percent and also added chronic pain as a qualifying condition was passed by the Texas House of Representatives in April. But when the measure was taken up in the Senate last month, Republican Senator Charles Schwertner introduced a substitute version

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