Governor Abbott has drawn a line in the sand and says he will not approve any liberalization of the state's marijuana laws. But News Radio 1200 WOAI reports a state medical panel may be ready to step over that line.An advisory committee of the State Health and Human Services Department is recommending the state evaluate the current use of medical marijuana in other states, and see whether Texans could benefit from benefitting policies now in place in other states.
More than half of all states now allow marijuana to be used for medical purposes, and it has been shown to be useful in dealing with issues ranging from PTSD to chronic pain.
In 2015, Abbott signed a bill allowing the use of not marijuana itself, but processed cannabis oil, and only for treatment of one specific type of seizure disorder.
"I think it is a wonderful thing," Chris Massey, the vice chair of the committee, said of the possibilities of medical use of marijuana. "We all know how important is, I see a lot of movement behind expanding the medicinal use, compassionate use."
The committee is also recommending a study of whether Texas should provide protections for people who are licensed to use medical marijuana in other states, and who travel to or move to Texas. Currently those people can be arrested for violating Texas drug laws.
"I see a lot of movement, a lot of impetus behind medicinal use, compassionate use, I think its building in the Legislature. It think its getting a lot of traction," Massey said.
Any measure to change the laws regarding the use of marijuana would have to be approved by the Legislature, were Abbott, of course, has a veto.
One thing the committee is concerned about is what have become known as 'marijuana refugees.' These are families who have been forced to leave Texas and travel to other states so they can obtain marijuana to treat a medical condition.