Cannabis Law Prof Blog

Editor: Franklin G. Snyder
Texas A&M University
School of Law

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Are Texans Ready for Marijuana Legalization?

Texas Flag Weed LeafMarijuana legalization seemed like a pipe dream for its Texas proponents until passage of the Texas Compassionate Use Act in 2015. And in June 2017, Texas issued the first licenses to retailers for the sale of marijuana-based products. DPS awarded three companies licenses to produce, process, and dispense cannabidiol oil. CBD, unlike THC, is a nonpsychoactive molecule approved in Texas for the treatment of seizures associated with intractable epilepsy. Until recently, only the licensed dispensaries could legally cultivate small quantities of marijuana solely for the purpose of procuring CBD.

But according to Star-Telegram author Anna Tinsley, any day now medical marijuana will legally start to grow on a much larger scale in Texas. The state’s first license went to Cansortium Texas, which owns the only 10-acre parcel of land currently approved for marijuana cultivation.

Braden Maccke—an author with the Austin Chronicle—also thinks that Texas’ marijuana policy may be progressing quicker than expected. In his May 12 article, Maccke discussed the circumstances surrounding HB 2107, which died before it could hit the full House floor. The bill was written to remove THC restrictions, turn "low THC" marijuana into "medicinal marijuana," and expand the list of conditions for which cannabis can be used legally with a doctor's recommendation, removing language requiring it to be "prescribed.” The bill had tons of bipartisan driven momentum on its way to the House, with 77 sponsors and co-sponsors, including 29 Republicans. Despite the unfortunate result of HB 2107, Maccke believes that future similar legislation is destined to pass congressional muster. 

A recent poll shows that over 80% of Texans support medical cannabis. And 53% of Texans support full adult legalization, while only 17% oppose possession of any kind.

Texas seems to be trending in the right direction. When state legislation begins to diverge from the ideology of those subject to it, change is inevitable. Governor Abbott has been adamant that low-THC, high-CBD marijuana for the treatment of epilepsy is as far as Texas will take it….”at this stage.” So even the Republican former state attorney general realizes the potential for Texas to eventually follow the lead of 29 other states and Washington DC. Texas’ early reluctance might even prove to be beneficial, giving legislators time to analyze market data from the “marijuana states” and learn from both their mistakes and accomplishments.

--Buds of Steel

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