Texas Is Pretending to Legalize Medical Marijuana

Texas has been working on making medical marijuana available since a law passed in 2015 that made it legal for people with intractable epilepsy to use it. Now, two years later, it appears Texas is really just pretending to legalize medical marijuana.

Let’s look at some facts: Only people with intractable epilepsy can get medical marijuana. In a state of 27 million people, that only makes it available to around 150,000 people. Furthermore, only people who have intractable epilepsy and meet a number of other specific requirements will be able to get it.

“All authorized patients have to be diagnosed with intractable epilepsy, be under the care of an authorized doctor, have tried two FDA-approved drugs found to be ineffective, and be a permanent resident of Texas,” according to ABC.

It gets worse. The only medical marijuana that is allowed to be sold is an oil extract that cannot be higher than 0.5% in THC, which is not enough to get anyone high (which can have its own medical benefits). Texas currently has eight doctors for the whole state who can prescribe medical marijuana, and its costs around $500,000 to get a license to grow marijuana. It’s hard to imagine a more narrow and difficult-to-use medical marijuana program.

Having 2 oz or less of marijuana can still get you thrown in jail for six months in Texas. That’s not exactly an example of a progressive drug law. It’s unclear why Texas passed any sort of medical marijuana law in the first place if it was going to remain so anti-marijuana, but hopefully it will be a step in the right direction. After all, many states that have started with a very short list of reasons you can get medical marijuana have expanded their lists. For now, Texas has what amounts to an imitation of medical marijuana legalization.

[Photo by Ed Schipul/Flickr]

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