Texas approves the expansion of its medical marijuana program

Pending those final steps, the Compassionate Use Act, which previously provided low-THC cannabis oil for patients with intractable epilepsy, will now include access for those with autism, terminal cancer, all forms of epilepsy, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, incurable neurodegenerative diseases, and more. In addition, the bill as currently constructed would strike the provision that patients need approval from two different doctors and instead will only need one.

“This bill is about compassion,” said state senator Donna Campbell, who sponsored the bill, to The Texas Tribune. “For patients participating in the [Compassionate Use Program], they have had a remarkable and life-altering change because of this. That’s compassion.”

However, the bill represents a small step for medical marijuana advocates in Texas rather than a large one. A THC-cap of 0.5% will remain for all marijuana products provided under the Compassionate Use Act. Nor will those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) qualify under the bill. Finally, the legislation strikes a previous provision that called for a research program to better understand marijuana’s efficacy for treating these various ailment.

As the Texas Observer noted, this “wasn’t the wide-ranging medical cannabis bill that Democrats and marijuana advocates wanted.” Instead it represents a half-measure that still leaves behind many and dramatically restricts those with the most serious illnesses from receiving the proper medicine.

“This kind of policy should have been one that passed without need for much conversation because of how limited it is,” Heather Fazio, director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, told the Texas Observer“We are still disappointed and kind of in dismay that the Legislature continues to fail the most sick Texans.”

The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ) was unchanged in after-hours trading Friday. Year-to-date, MJ has gained 2.85%, versus a 6.39% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

MJ currently has an ETF Daily News SMART Grade of C (Neutral), and is ranked #56 of 85 ETFs in the Global Equities ETFs category.

This article is brought to you courtesy of Benzinga.

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