Editorial: Texas must move ahead on medical marijuana

Longview News-Journal

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Longview News-Journal

As of last week, 25 states have enacted laws allowing the use of medical marijuana — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards was the latest to sign a bill passed by his state’s Legislature.

Many more states soon will be following the trend that began 20 years ago (in California, not surprisingly), allowing treatment for debilitating seizures and chronic seizures by using medical forms of marijuana. In some cases it is the only prescription that works.

That’s true for a number of people in the Longview area. We don’t know how many but over the past few years several have stepped forward asking for help in getting medical marijuana approved in Texas.

Alexis Bortell, 10, once lived in Texas but left the state for Colorado after her daily problems with seizures became resistant to any drug her doctors could prescribe here.

Now, in 430 days of medical marijuana treatment, Alexis has been seizure free.

Jacy Poole of Lakeport met with Alexis and her family last weekend. Jacy has similar problems but without the ability to move to another state. She needs help now, in Texas. So do many others.

And it is well nigh past time Texas lawmakers step up to the plate and provide meaningful legislation to help them live with confidence rather than constant pain or the fear that any moment they will suffer a seizure.

Every seizure causes some amount of brain damage, too. This is not merely a matter of convenience.

We find it odd there is so much resistance to medical marijuana from law-and-order types when the medical profession already uses painkillers that are far more potent and addictive. Morphine has been used decades and is both powerful and addictive. New painkillers are introduced with regularity and officials are always fearful of how they will be abused.

This is not a problem with medical marijuana because, frankly, it has been used illegally for years. Allowing its medical use is not going to increase the illegal use at this point.

Yet such measures are always called controversial, and we do not understand why. Such moves are supported by both liberal and conservative members of the Texas Legislature. Medical marijuana has no ideological bent, it just helps people and last we knew that was supposedly the aim of everyone in the Legislature.

Many understandingly oppose the outright legalization of marijuana, as we have in the past. But anyone who takes a few minutes to understand the facts realizes this isn’t about making the party more lively but making lives more liveable.

For Alexis, Jacy and untold other Texans who would be helped, the Legislature should pass, and Gov. Greg Abbott must approve, meaningful medical marijuana legislation in the coming session.