Last year was a monumental year for marijuana legalization both at the medicinal and recreational levels. We’re slowly reaching a majority of states that allow it in some form or another, but at the same time there are a few states that seem to be so stuck in their ways that change could be far off. Texas is one of those proud and not impressively progressive states that isn’t really opening up to cannabis culture. In 2015 they shot down legislation to pass medical marijuana laws pretty quickly, but somehow a law that would allow those suffering from epilepsy to use medical cannabis in the form of low THC oil managed to pass. This would be very exciting news, but it seems that a blunder regarding the specific language in the legislation could stop the changes in their tracks.
Governor Greg Abbott signed the Compassionate Use Act in 2015, which would have given the state at least a testing program to see how medical cannabis could work, but many think it was dead in the water way before that. Apparently the wording in the new law would force Texas physicians to break federal law by prescribing cannabis oil. The major contingency here is the word prescribe as compared to the word recommend. This might sound like a small detail, but it could stop this bill in its tracks because no medical professionals will be willing to risk breaking the law. According the The Controlled Substances Act it is strictly prohibited for doctors to prescribe marijuana for medical use. They do however, have the right to recommend cannabis to patients in medicinally legal states. This right is protected under the First Amendment. Apparently this verbiage issue isn’t the first of its kind. Way back in 1991 Louisiana legalized medical marijuana, but because of the prescribe word in their law there were no patients ever able to use the program.
Louisiana just recently got their issue fixed over two decades after the initial legislation. Hopefully Texas doesn’t take nearly that long to rectify this issue, but that should give you a little perspective to how big of a hurdle this could possibly be. Many states that are filled with intense regulations on the medical cannabis industries are finding that their dispensaries simply can’t stay open with such a small number of qualifying patients. Despite the good chance that no one in Texas will be receiving any cannabis at all, the state officials are still working to put the regulations in place. The Texas Department of Public Safety will be spending the next few months trying to convince cannabis dispensaries to get licenses for a business that stands no chance of being lucrative. There are a few people that are still hopeful that they will be able to change the wording of the passed legislation to avoid getting caught in this ridiculous loophole.