April 20, 2021

Medical Cannabis in the Texas Legislature
338 Words, a 1.5-Minute Read

The medical cannabis movement has experienced a slow trudge in the Texas Legislature: Legislative victories have been limited to 2015’s Texas Compassionate Use Program and a minor update in 2019. (Click here to learn more.)

The 2021 Texas Legislature’s current medical cannabis bill, HB 1535, is still limited in scope (when compared to what other states allow). However, the current proposal's scope dwarfs Texas’ past laws and would expand medical cannabis in Texas if it clears the House, Senate and governor.

Click here to read the legislation. HB 1535 would:

  • Establish a compassionate-use institutional review board, which must be affiliated with a medical school.
  • Patient treatment would be limited to physicians who are certified by an institutional review board to participate in the program.
  • Rules would be created for physicians to prescribe low-THC cannabis for the treatment of defined conditions that would otherwise be treated by an opioid, a PTSD for a veteran or other “debilitating medical conditions” defined by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Could This Expand Beyond Physicians?
HB 1535 has been written in a tight manner to limit medical cannabis to physicians who agree to a number of parameters. The bill’s authors fear that any attempt to expand the eligible prescribers beyond physicians who meet certain standards could easily sink the bill.

Some proponents of the legislation have suggested expanding the eligible clinicians to prescribe medical cannabis beyond physicians to mid-level providers, such as podiatrists. However, the slightest amendment could harm the bill’s chances.

Will the Bill Make It to the Governor for a Signature?
HB 1535, which features the support of a physician lawmaker in the House and dozens of other state representatives from both sides of the aisle, is waiting to be set on the House’s floor calendar. While odds are strong that it will pass out of the House, it has been sitting in the House Calendars Committee since April 12 waiting to be considered and placed on the House floor.

The Senate is where the medical cannabis legislation will face a tougher headwind.

Other Bills: Dozens of Them
Click here to view TOA's bill tracker, which tracks the dozens of bills that relate to orthopaedics.

Click here to view TOA's musculoskeletal primer for state lawmakers.

Click here to view TOA's 2021 e-mail updates.
Bobby Hillert | Executive Director
Texas Orthopaedic Association
[email protected] | 214.728.7672 m