July 03, 2018, Texas
Recent progressions on cannabis policy in several conservative states have also given hope to marijuana activists in Texas. The Lone Star State has always been known for its conservative tendencies, considered a Republican stronghold for emerging red in the last many elections now.
Amid high hopes of cannabis proponents, it is still a long way to go for marijuana to become legal for recreational use in the state. There are many reasons that factor in to make it an uphill task. In this two-part article series, we will try to discuss all the obstacles that are in the way of blanket legalization in Texas.
Local Lawmakers Despise Cannabis
A strong cannabis opposition exists in local legislatures even in the states where marijuana has become legal. However, the situation in Texas is different altogether. The levels of cannabis animosity exist in the legislature is unparalleled. Many of its former and incumbent lawmakers hate cannabis to a very great degree.
House representative Pet Sessions of North Dallas is a living example of this cannabis opposition. Pet chairs the state’s house committee on rules. He has blocked several proposals intended for legal medical businesses. Due to his strong opposition, local MMJ businesses couldn’t avail regular banking services and neither can they apply for tax relief schemes like other legal ventures.
Pete’s enmity towards cannabis doesn’t end here. He has even introduced amendments to block access of medical cannabis to veterans. In a recently held summit, he misled the audience by drawing parallels between the use of cannabis and opioids. There are many Texan lawmakers like Pete Sessions who are making recreational cannabis legalization an unlikely scenario.
Extremely Difficult Access to CBD Oils
CBD is a non-psychoactive component of cannabis primarily used in the manufacturing for MMJ medications. Restrictions from MMJ board of the state have made it difficult for patients and their caregivers to access CBD oils. In this situation, hoping that the state will legalize the strain full of THC is just farthest optimism.
Discouraging Physicians to Become Part of MMJ Program
Texas is the only state where physicians are required to get registered with the Department of public safety in order to become eligible to make MMJ recommendations. Therefore, the majority of them are staying away from the state’s medical cannabis program. By the end of last year, only seven doctors in the entire state have the permission to recommend MMJ treatments.
Even Existing Laws are on the Block
In Texas, even current laws governing medical marijuana program is under severe strain from the Department of State Health Services. John Hellerstedt, the department’s commissioner, has written an open letter for lobbying against CBD extracted from hemp. This hemp extract is used in many MMJ products. If the ban materializes, then every retailer in the state will be required to return his products for inspection. This means only one thing i.e. MMJ dispensaries will have empty shelves of CBD products for an unspecific time period.