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Texas still falling behind in access to medical marijuana

Morris Denton with Texas Original said to increase access, the State should expand the list of qualifying conditions and increase the threshold of THC levels.

AUSTIN, Texas — A recent report by Americans for Safe Access said there's a lack of access to medical cannabis in the state of Texas. 

House Bill 1535 went into effect on Sept. 1. The bill added all forms of cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of qualifying conditions and doubled the amount of THC allowed in marijuana products from 0.5% to 1%. 

Leanna Dando's son uses medical marijuana. He was first diagnosed with epilepsy when he was a toddler. When he started using medical marijuana, Dando's mom noticed an immediate change. He went from having multiple seizures a day to none. 

Credit: Leanda Dando

"It's actually now still the probably the biggest backbone of his health care," Dando said.

While Dando hasn't had any problems ordering the product for her son, Abbey Roudebush with Americans for Safe Access highlighted a recent report that said there are still things that need to be fixed in Texas. 

"There are about 3,500 patients in Texas," Roudebush said. "Texas is still a big state, and there are only two retailers open in the state, both located near Austin."

One of the retailers KVUE talked to, Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation, said they have 12 pickup locations throughout the state. 

However, they're only allowed to store medical cannabis within their facility. So, they drive around the state multiple times a week to deliver products. 

The CEO of Texas Original, Morris Denton, said the following to state legislatures:

"Let the business operate the way that business can and should operate. Allow us to store inventory closer to our patients so that our patients, you know, have reasonable access to it on on on a more consistent basis."

Dando believes the State should get rid of the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis so they can expand access. 

These are the current qualifying conditions:

Roudebush said the decision for this type of care shouldn't be based on a list.

"This is a medical decision, just like any other medical decision that you would make," Roudebush said. "That decision and authority need to be left up to the patient and their physician who know the patient's health best and what will be best for the patient. And it shouldn't be left up to the Legislature or regulators to decide who will have access, or who can benefit from medical cannabis."

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