Texas Senate votes to expand the Compassionate Use Program

The Texas Senate has approved HB 3703, an extremely limited medical cannabis bill. It’s a bitter sweet moment for those of us who have worked so hard to truly fix and expand the Texas Compassionate Use Program.

As passed by the House, HB 3703 only listed three additional qualifying conditions: epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and spasticity. Thanks to advocates like you from across the state and leadership from Senator Donna Campbell, amendments were made in the Senate to include the following addition qualifying conditions: all seizure disorders, terminal cancer, autism, ALS, and incurable neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases.

Another favorable amendments include a change to require approval from only one specialist in order for patients to participate in the program. Sen. Campbell’s version of the bill also attempts to protect doctors by defining a “prescription” for medical use of low-THC cannabis as an entry in the compassionate-use registry. (Bill overview.)

Next steps: Sen. Campbell’s good amendments need to be approved in the House and then the bill heads to Gov. Abbott’s desk for a signature.

This bill moves the needle, but falls very short of what we need in Texas! Those with other debilitating medical conditions need access to whole plant cannabis and we will not stop until the Compassionate Use Program is truly made more inclusive and functional, protecting patients and providers.