Patients, Caregivers, Advocates Lobbying for Pending Medical Marijuana Legislation

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AUSTIN, Texas - Medical marijuana advocates made a last-minute plea Monday to push for a bill that would allow more people to use medical cannabis.

  • HB 2017 must make the House calender by Thursday or it won't be voted on. 
  • Only people with uncontrollable epilepsy can use medical marijuana in Texas. 

"I have PTSD from military sexual trauma," said Amanda Berard, a nurse and veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder.

"I have a nine-year-old son with autism," shared Mothers Advocating for Medical Marijuana for Autism’s Wanita Kaupert.

Right now, under the Compassionate Use Act, only people with uncontrollable epilepsy can use medical marijuana. But if House Bill 2107 moves forward, patients with cancer, autism, PTSD and other specific ailments would be able to, as well.

For Berard, marijuana is medicine.

"That was the first time in ten years that I wasn't worried about who was standing behind me," she said.

Also for Kaupert's son.

"We have used cannabis successfully. It's not legal right now so he's not currently on it but we saw a ton of gains," said Kaupert.

When the House Committee on Public Health passed the measure Friday and more than half of the House signed on to co-author the bill, it gave them hope.

"We're floored, we're amazed,” gushed Kaupert. “You know it could've died in the last committee. We think it's a miracle it has gone this far. I think we have enough traction."

Advocates pushed hard to get the bill on the calendar for a full House vote to make sure it keeps its momentum. Bills that don't make it on the calendar by Thursday die. If HB 2107 doesn't hit the floor, Kaupert said they'll keep pushing, but it will come at a cost.

"There are cancer patients that are dying. They just can't wait two years,” she said. "All of our eggs are in this basket right now."

"I'm disappointed that Texas is falling behind the rest of the country in this,” said Berard. “But I think we have the opportunity here to really make history and really change things around to benefit all Texans."

Others that would be able to use medical marijuana should the bill pass include those with spinal cord injuries, glaucoma, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

If the House approves the bill, it must still pass in the Senate before heading to Governor Abbott's desk.

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