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Lawmakers in Texas Approve Medical Marijuana as Opioid Alternative, Increase THC Limit

TEXAS  – On Monday, Texas lawmakers passed a bill that permits physicians to suggest medical marijuana to patients who suffer from a condition causing persistent pain and are being treated with prescription opioids.

According to a report by Marijuana Moment, the House Public Health Committee approved legislation by Rep. Stephanie Klick (R) that would replace the THC cap set by the state’s current limited medical cannabis law about a week after a hearing where lawmakers took testimony on the proposal. This announcement follows several weeks after a House committee gave unanimous approval to a bill that would decriminalize marijuana possession in the state and establish a process for clearing criminal records.

Under the proposed medical marijuana expansion legislation, the existing 1% THC cap on cannabis oil would be replaced with a 10-milligram volumetric dose. Although the initial bill sought to raise the THC limit to 5%, the committee ultimately approved a substitute amendment that includes the volumetric dosing approach.

The bill also outlines that officials at the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) may use rulemaking to authorize other severe medical conditions for patients to be eligible for the cannabis program. If passed, the bill would become effective from September 1, 2023. As per the current legislation, patients can qualify for low-THC medical cannabis if they suffer from conditions such as autism, epilepsy, cancer, seizure disorder, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or spasticity.

Although advocates are pushing for the conservative legislature to either end cannabis prohibition or pass more comprehensive medical cannabis legislation, the approved committee measure represents a significant expansion.

Home rule laws have prompted a surge of local efforts to address marijuana-related issues throughout Texas in recent years. Some major cities, including Austin, have already implemented decriminalization at the local level through ballot initiatives. In the November 2022 elections, voters in five other Texas cities approved similar reforms.

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