Advocacy Action Alert | HB 1535 – Expand Texas Compassionate Use Act


HB 1535 – Expand Texas Compassionate Use Act for Low-THC Cannabis

Updated 4/8/21

Issue:

Medical marijuana has been found to be effective in treating autism by reducing anxiety, aggression, panic, meltdowns, and self-injurious behavior. In order to develop effective treatment plans, doctors need to be able to prescribe amounts of CBD and THC that are therapeutic for their patients. By restricting how doctors can treat their patients, even when there are studies that support the safety and efficacy of the treatment, Texas is encroaching on the doctor-patient relationship. Additionally, the penalties in Texas for the use or possession of marijuana are exceptionally harsh, and we are concerned that unnecessary arrests and prosecutions could risk the safety of autistic people who qualify—or could qualify—under the compassionate use program.

Of the 36 states that allow for the therapeutic use of cannabis, Texas is among the bottom third in allowing doctors to prescribe THC and CBD at the dosages that studies have found to be effective in the treatment of conditions including autism. Currently, the maximum level of THC that Texas allows doctors to prescribe is only about one-third of the amount that has been found to have therapeutic value in treating autism.

House Bill 1535 expands the list of medical conditions and patients that qualify for low-THC medical cannabis prescriptions, increases the amount of permitted THC in medicines, and creates access for patients with debilitating medical conditions designated by the Department of State Health Services. The bill amends the Texas Compassionate Use Act and aims to:

  1. Expand the list of medical conditions and patients that qualify for low-THC medical cannabis to include all stages of cancer, acute or chronic pain for which physicians would otherwise prescribe opioids, and veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
  2. Grant access to low-THC medical cannabis for patients with medical conditions approved for research programs that the patients are receiving treatment under and allow access to patients with debilitating medical conditions designated by the Department of State Health Services.
  3. Establish one or more institutional review boards to evaluate and approve proposed research programs to study the medical use of low-THC cannabis in treating a medical condition.
  4. Increase the THC limit to 5% by weight, giving physicians the ability to administer the proper dosage for a patient’s condition while reducing the side effects of ingesting too much carrying oil.

Bill:
HB 1535 – Representative Klick (No Senate companion bill).

Specific Action Needed:

Contact your Texas Senator, House Representative, Lt. Governor, and Speaker of the House. Tell them “I support House Bill 1535 to allow the expansion of the Texas Compassionate Use Act which helps many medical conditions as well as individuals with autism.”

Who to Call/Email:

Contact your own Texas Representative-find here: https://wrm.capitol.texas.gov/home

Contact Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick: dan.patrick@ltgov.state.tx.us

Contact Speaker of the House Dade Phelan: dade.phelan@house.texas.gov

Contact Members of the House Committee on Calendars:

House Committee on Calendars
Representative Dustin Burrows – Chair (512) 463-0542 dustin.burrows@house.texas.gov
Representative Joe Moody – Vice Chair (512) 463-0728 joe.moody@house.texas.gov
Representative Tom Craddick (512) 463-0500 tom.craddick@house.texas.gov
Representative Cody Harris (512) 463-0730 cody.harris@house.texas.gov
Representative Cole Hefner (512) 463-0271 cole.hefner@house.texas.gov
Representative Ana Hernandez (512) 463-0614 ana.hernandez@house.texas.gov
Representative Ben Leman (512) 463-0600 ben.leman@house.texas.gov
Representative Jared Patterson (512) 463-0694 jared.patterson@house.texas.gov
Representative Toni Rose (512) 463-0664 toni.rose@house.texas.gov
Representative Shelby Slawson (512) 463-0628 shelby.slawson@house.texas.gov
Representative James Talarico (512) 463-0670 james.talarico@house.texas.gov

Let us know if you were successful or if AST Advocacy staff need to do any follow-ups at 512-479-4199 Ext. 10 or advocacy@texasautismsociety.org.