Texas state Senator Jose Menendez is looking to expand the state’s medical marijuana program by adding more qualifying conditions and expanding the number of medical marijuana dispensaries.
A new bill in Texas’ legislative session could expand the state’s medical marijuana program. The Medical Cannabis Regulatory Program Expansion Act, filed by state Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs), would allow registered physicians to prescribe cannabis for patients suffering from a variety of medical conditions—even if the patient’s physicians have refused previously to accept the findings of the state’s health department.Texas families hope to pass a bill that would expand the state’s medical marijuana program. Former Dallas Cowboy Jay Novacek and his wife Amy Novacek made the case for the bill on behalf of their son, who they say can better control his seizures with medical marijuana. Bill 1535 creates a research program for medical cannabis and increases the THC limit from 0.5% to 5%. But the family says it’s not about increasing the number of drugs, but about improving the existing medical marijuana program and helping some patients deal with side effects. It’s not about people getting high, Amy says. It is nothing more than a medical application prescribed by a doctor. Amy and Jay’s son Blake suffers from several health problems, including seizures and migraines after a head injury in 2015. The family says Blake has up to 15 seizures a day. According to Amy, he still suffers from chronic migraines and body aches. If he sits down and falls, he will be injured. He broke his nose. He suffered multiple shoulder injuries and other physical damage. After trying various medications, the family discovered that medical marijuana helped Blake significantly reduce his seizures and manage his pain. We weren’t behind it, really, Amy admitted. But the more we saw our child come back to us and how it made him normal again, the more we supported and still support him. According to proponents of the bill, approximately 5,000 patients currently use the state’s Compassionate Use Oil Drug Program. But health advocates say the current restrictions cause side effects in some patients because of the amount they have to take. Families like the Nowasekis want to raise the THC limit from 0.5% to 5%, so that less oil has more effect. The amount of medicine he takes each day is exactly the same. It’s just oil, Jay explained. The amount of oil he has to drink has been greatly reduced. The bill has already passed the Texas House of Representatives with bipartisan support. But so far he hasn’t accomplished anything in the Senate. The family urges others to contact their senators and lieutenant governors to take action. We’re not going to fill it with THC, Jay said. We’ll give him the same amount. Supporters say that if there is no movement on the bill in the next few days, it probably won’t pass this session.
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