Some Texans are fighting to legalize medical marijuana in the state, getting behind a set of bills that would make cannabis available to patients suffering from health woes such as cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder and seizures. Lawmakers who support the legislation joined medical patients, some of whom have been buying marijuana illegally, in making the case for marijuana legalization Tuesday.
The bills -- House Bill 3785 and Senate Bill 1989 -- would require patients seeking medical marijuana to get a doctor’s recommendation. The bills were filed Friday and would legalize medical cannabis as early as next year. Similar bills have been introduced before in Texas, but advocates said House Bill 3785 and Senate Bill 1989 were the most far-reaching yet. "This piece of legislation is a comprehensive medical marijuana bill. Texans deserve a choice when it comes to their health care," State Rep. Marisa Marquez, D-El Paso, the author of House Bill 3785 said Tuesday during a news conference at the State Capitol in Austin, according to local ABC affiliate KVUE-TV. “The support we see here today is a clear indication that the Legislature needs to take the suffering of these Texans seriously.”
If passed, the bills would make Texas the 24th state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. Texas bans all marijuana use and criminalizes its possession.
But advocates of marijuana reform face an uphill battle. Lawmakers said it’s unlikely the House bill would pass, and the Sheriffs' Association of Texas has previously stated it would “oppose any effort to decriminalize marijuana, or legalize medical marijuana or any of the components of marijuana.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said marijuana legalization wouldn’t make it past the Texas legislature anytime soon. “I don’t think decriminalizing marijuana is going to happen this session,” Abbott said Monday during a news conference, according to the Dallas Morning News. “I will see Texas continuing to lead the way of diverting away from activity that involves drug use and helping people lead more productive lives.”