Joined at the hip with the Southern US, Texas has long lagged behind the forefront of efforts to compassionately treat patients with medical cannabis. A supposed law passed three years ago covers only epileptics; subsequently, the Houston Chronicle reports that very few Texan patients are actually being treated with the natural, herbal medicine; even those suffering from that serious condition have trouble finding practitioners willing to prescribe cannabinoid oil (CBD), the only type of cannabis-based medical treatment offered in The Lone Star State.
This restrictive law has come under scrutiny by the media and the medical community and efforts are now underway to change hearts and minds ahead of next year's Texas legislative session in the form of a series of new TV ads aimed at rural Texans. The group behind the ads, Foundation for an Informed Texas, aims to make the state’s restrictive cannabis law a major issue by arguing that cannabis “really is a medicine” rather than a gateway drug as it is seen by many local lawmakers and law enforcement personnel. Though lawmakers say changing state law is not a priority, given state infrastructure issues, folks like foundation executive director Jax Finkle are hopeful that eventually these ads will change minds and improve Texans’ access to medical cannabis.
Last week, The Associated Press noted that state health officials have been in contact with New Mexico dispensaries, issuing a warning about selling cannabidiol that comes from plants grown outside The Land of Enchantment. On June 7, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program Director Kenny Vigil wrote to commercial participants in the program that the aforementioned production and use of out-of-state-made CBD was “in violation of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act and must cease.” Passed in 2007, the state’s medical marijuana law prohibits licensed dispensaries from bringing cannabis or cannabis-derived products into the state, period. In other words, all medical cannabis products available in this state, including CBD, must be produced in-state. The effects of this clarification may mean less business for the state’s medical cannabis dispensaries, as CBD is not federally regulated and CBD-only shops do not need to be licensed by the state.
This confusing legal discrepancy follows DEA guidance given on May 22, which ruled that CBD and its primary source, industrial hemp, do not qualify as controlled substances. Ironically, New Mexico State Health Department administrators believe otherwise, ruling that no out-of-state CBD products should be sold at New Mexico’s medical cannabis dispensaries.