The Texas House passed a bill on Wednesday, April 12 that could give more Texans access to medical marijuana.
Nico Richardson is the CEO of Texas Original, the leading medical cannabis provider in Texas. He said if House Bill 1805 makes it past the senate, it could benefit Texans with chronic pain.
"Various forms of arthritis and other auto-immune conditions, or chronic pain associated with traumatic incidents or injury," he said. "These things are not permitted under the current medical cannabis legislation in Texas."
While some lawmakers voted against the bill, there was no debate on the House floor. This bill expands on the state's compassionate use program that already allows medical marijuana use by patients with certain conditions such as cancer or epilepsy.
HB1805 would also change the THC cap for products with medical marijuana if it passes the senate. Richardson said states that allow medicinal marijuana see dramatic reduction in prescription opioids and opioid deaths.
"Not a lot of people are being treated for medical cannabis in Texas that could otherwise be treated in other systems," he said. "When we look at these other programs in other states, we see negative correlation[s] between medical cannabis usage and the usage of opioids."
A similar bill was introduced in 2021, but did not make it out of the senate. HB 1805 is not the only cannabis-related bill that has been recently proposed. Other bills include an attempt to decriminalize small amounts of possession of cannabis and legalization of recreational marijuana.
A University of Houston survey shows 82% of Texans support legalizing marijuana for medical use. Most Texans also support legalizing marijuana for recreational use for adults age 21 and older.
"We hope that [HB 1805] will pass the senate. There is wide bipartisan support now for medical cannabis in Texas," Richardson said. "We think that this bill could do a lot of good for improving access for a lot of patients that are suffering across the state of Texas."