It has been five years since medical marijuana was approved in the state of Texas. But there has been many issues because the rules are way to strict in order to get approved in the program. Medical marijuana usage is still largely inaccessible to those who intend to help.
Some Texas lawmakers see an opportunity for this to change and fix the state cannabis program. Next month there is a new legislative session and the lawmakers as well as the advocates look forward to further expanding expanding eligibility and loosening some restrictions.
Up to date, there are only 3,519 Texans registered with the state to use medical marijuana, though advocates say 2 million people are eligible based on current law.
Because of the program restrictions, Texas is at the bottom 11 in terms of accessibility out of 47 states nationwide where some kind of medical marijuana usage is legal. This is the reason why there are fewer enrolled patients and by far less businesses in the industry.
“We’re pretty dang close to the bottom. We’re pretty far behind,” said state Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, referring to how access to Texas’ medical marijuana program fares compared with other states. Menéndez will push legislation in the next session to further expand the program.
A simple comparison with Oklahoma will simplify this. The state of Oklahoma has 25 million fewer compared to Texas, but it has more than 100 times as many registered patients who can access medical marijuana. As of December, there were 365,464 people enrolled in medical marijuana program in Oklahoma.
There is also another fact that should be taken into consideration. Lifting the restrictions means opening new businesses in the industry which will surely help in Covid-19 recovery.