On Tuesday, state lawmakers in Austin are expected to hear testimony from Texans, including doctors from Houston, on whether to legalize medical marijuana statewide.
A house committee is reviewing House Bill 2107, a bipartisan bill filed by Rep. Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville) that would expand the existing Texas Compassionate Use Program signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott in 2015.
Instead of just allowing low-THC cannabis oil for severe epilepsy patients, the program would allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana for people suffering from dozens of debilitating ailments, including cancer, glaucoma and PTSD.
Joe Sanchez, who owns Paradise Glass Gallery on Houston Avenue at Main Street in the Heights, says many of those patients frequent his stores. He’s been urging lawmakers to support the bill, which he says could not only help his businesses but also his customers.
“It really needs to be something that’s medically based,” said Sanchez. “It needs to be something that’s decided up on by our physicians. Cause after all, I’d rather have a physician prescribe a med for me rather than a politician prescribe a med for me. Which would you trust?”
The idea has its opponents, including Governor Greg Abbott, who has previously spoken out against using “conventional marijuana” for medical purposes.
Some businesses and law enforcement agencies have also voiced safety concerns.