Medical marijuana bills filed in Texas Senate and House
AUSTIN, Texas - Not 1 but 2 bills are filed Friday at the Capitol that could make Cannabis for medicinal use legal as early as next year.
Advocates say it's the first time legislation of this magnitude has ever been introduced in Texas.
Vincent Lopez has Becker's Muscular Dystrophy. It causes muscle and tissue breakdown over time.
Lopez says he's been confined to his chair for 25 years. And he's in constant pain. But he says marijuana helps.
"If anything what it does is it takes my mind away from the pain. It alleviates my concern of that pain," Lopez said.
On Friday, State Representative Marisa Marquez from El Paso and Senator Jose Menendez filed bills in the House and Senate that would provide safe and legal access to medical marijuana for those who need it.
"Texas actually leads the nation in innovative medical research. And so it needs to take the scientific and reasoned approach to the known benefits of medical marijuana. Texas needs to be at the table of this conversation," said Representative Marisa Marquez from El Paso.
According to Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, 23 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territory of Guam have passed laws that allow people with qualifying conditions to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.
Heather Fazio with the Marijuana Policy Project says qualifying medical conditions are Cancer, glaucoma, HIV, Crohn's Disease and more.
She says the bill would allow patients to grow it themselves or buy from dispensaries.
"Those who are suffering from Cancer...PTSD is one of the conditions that we're including, seizure disorders are something that is very prevalent and is going to be helped with this medicine. It's proven to be safe and effective and Texans deserve access," Fazio said.
If the legislation passes, Lopez won't have to worry about doing anything illegal anymore.
"It's a hell of a concern to have when you have something that's an answer in your hand that brings forth a catch 22 situation. Do I think about the pain or do I worry and have the fear of law enforcement? I'm sorry but the pain is going to override that any day, any time," Lopez said.
Representative Marquez says the 40-page House Bill 3785 may change. They will be requesting a hearing and it will likely go to the Public Health Committee before hitting the floor for discussion.