It remains to be seen just how far the Texas Legislature will run with marijuana legalization this year, but one thing is certain: residents think it’s a good idea.
Everything is bigger in Texas — just not when it comes to marijuana.
It has been five years since the state put a restrictive medical marijuana program on the books, one that caters only to the sickest of the sick and still only services roughly 3,000 people. The program is so measly by today’s stoner standards that we don’t hear too much about it.
Meanwhile, Texas police are still arresting close to 100,000 people every year for weed. So, don’t you dare mention legalizing marijuana like they are doing in those northern states. No sir, most officials just aren’t about that life. But it’s a brand spanking new year, and lawmakers are pushing a slew of pot-related measures that they hope will turn Texas into the Stoned Star State.
There have already been somewhere around 20 pot-related bills filed in the state legislature. Some look to decriminalize the herb and keep non-violent marijuana arrests to a minimum. Others will try to expand the medical marijuana program to serve more people. Lawmakers are also throwing caution to the wind and attempting to legalize the leaf in a manner similar to alcohol.
And while most of this legislation will bite the dust soon after the 87th session begins, lawmakers think that some might stick.
Senator José Menéndez would like to see his bill (SB 90), which calls for an expansion of the state’s failing medical marijuana program, make it out of the state legislature alive in the next few months.
As it stands, the state’s medical marijuana program allows people with epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, incurable neurodegenerative diseases, ALS, terminal cancer and autism to gain access to CBD oil that contains 0.5% THC. However, SB 90 would enhance the program by adding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a few other health issues to the list. It would also remove the cap on THC and permit registered medical marijuana participants to engage in home cultivation.
It would be a positive move for Texas. Not only for patients wanting to use marijuana as an alternative to prescription drugs, but also for the economy. A recent study from Research Dive shows that expanding statewide medical marijuana programs can stimulate economies ravaged by COVID.
On the other hand, some lawmakers think it is time to grab the bull by the horns and establish a taxed and regulated marijuana market.