Republican, Democratic Parties Include the Compassionate Use Act in Platforms

By LeAnn Wallace
Monday, June 20, 2016 at 09:29 PM EDT

AUSTIN, Texas —  Republicans and Democrats in Texas have included expanding the state’s Compassionate Use Act in their respective platforms.

“In 2015 we saw a tremendous grassroots movement and legislative action on marijuana policy reform in a meaningful way with the passage of the Compassionate Use Act,” said Heather Fazio, Texas political director of the Marijuana Policy Project.

The passage of that act made legal in Texas the use of a marijuana byproduct known as CBD oil. The oil is very low in THC and is used to treat rare diseases like intractable epilepsy. The law did not go as far as marijuana advocates would like, but it did open the door for additional reform in the upcoming session.

“In fact, the Texas GOP just included in their platform, they’re calling on legislators to improve the Compassionate Use Act to allow doctors to decide which patients should have access to this medicine,” said Fazio.

It’s a move that surprised State Rep. Celia Israel, D-50th Dist.

“That may be the most progressive thing they’ve done and I applaud them for being open minded.”

Israel is an Austin Democrat who also served as the platform committee’s chairwoman at the Democratic State Convention in San Antonio over the weekend.

“There are Texans among us who are suffering and using medical marijuana for example would be a big help to their quality of life,” added Israel.

The Democratic Party’s platform goes beyond medical use. It calls on the legislature to study the laws and systems implemented in states that offer full legalization.

While Republicans did not go that far in their platform, both parties have expressed interest in criminal justice reform by decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

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