Texas Senate votes to expand legal access to medical cannabis

It appears legally produced cannabis oil will soon have thousands of new Texas customers. 

"This is not a party thing. This isn't a Republican or Democratic thing. This is about physicians. This is about patients," said State Senator Donna Campbell, a New Braunfels Republican and emergency room physician.

Campbell's legislation proposes expanding legal access to medical cannabis for those suffering a host of debilitating diseases, including Parkinson's, ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, seizure disorders, terminal cancer and autism.

Some in the upper chamber argued Campbell's measure does not go far enough.

"I think we must extend the compassionate use of cannabis to more people," said State Senator Jose Menendez, a San Antonio Democrat.

Others were disappointed legal, prescribed, medical cannabis was not extended to veterans suffering post-traumatic stress.

"Don't you think veterans deserve lifesaving relief that could be provided to them in this bill?" asked State Senator Eddie Lucio, a Democrat from Brownsville.

And still others in the Senate feared widening access to medical marijuana could prove a stepping stone to legalization for recreational use.

"I come at this with a highly guarded sense of danger of the direction I think this might take us," said State Senator Brian Birdwell, a Republican from Granbury.

"I am not for legalizing marijuana," said Campbell in response.

The vote was 31 to 0, a unanimous move toward "compassionate expansion."

Among those urging passage, none pushed harder than MAMMA - tha acronym for Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism.

"It's going to make a big difference in the quality of life of families across Texas," said Amy Lou Fawell, a founder of MAMMA.

"I am overwhelmingly happy that we were able to add autism to the compassionate use program, but I'm also a little devastated for all the patients it will not help," said Terri Carriker, a parent activist with MAMMA.

The measure mandates that CBD oil must be prescribed by a medical specialist and contain a THC level no greater than .5 percent.

The "Compassionate Use" Bill now moves back to the Texas House for final approval.