Texas Agricultural Commissioner pushes for Medical Cannabis Expansion

The Commissioner for Agriculture in Texas, Sid Miller, in a recent opinion column has stated that he is in favor of expanding access for medical cannabis patients in the state. In this recent column posted on the state website, he stated that marijuana laws were akin to the failed alcohol prohibition laws that were a feature of the 1920s. He believes that the strict outlook on marijuana was formed from a place of fear and without considering its potential benefits to medical science. Sid Miller pledged that he would urge Texas Governor, Greg Abbott to make Medical Marijuana a priority for legislation.

The use of marijuana in Texas is only permitted for acute medical reasons while recreational use is completely forbidden. After the Texas Compassionate Use Act was passed in June 2015, patients with uncontrollable epilepsy were authorized to use marijuana products with a low THC content for the first time legally. Texas' first medicinal marijuana dispensary was finally constructed and began operations in 2017. Texas now has a fairly short list of qualifying ailments that allow medicinal marijuana users to use specific low-THC products.

Currently, only those Texans who meet particular criteria, such as those with cancer or epilepsy, are considered "eligible" to use medical marijuana. Miller said he wants to make what he views as medicine accessible to any Texan with a medical need. Miller vowed to work for an extension of the state's compassionate use program, which is now one of the most limited in the country, even if he said he doesn't support legalizing marijuana for recreational use in the state.

Miller suggested broadening access to create a state where any Texan with a medical need be allowed to have access to these drugs. The Commissioner concluded by urging the governor, lawmakers from Texas, and others to join forces and put aside their political differences to have an open discussion about cannabis; the journey so far, the future of marijuana in the state, and what role the government should appropriately play in the industry.

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