HB 3703 Statement

May 23, 2019

Dennis Borel & Chase Bearden
Executive & Deputy Executive Directors and Medical Cannabis policy leads

On May 22, the last possible day, HB 3703 (Klick) unanimously passed in the Senate and now makes its way to the Governor’s desk.

HB 3703 will expand Texas’ Compassionate Use Program (TCUP), extending the qualifying conditions that will allow a person safe, legal access to medical cannabis, from only intractable epilepsy to: other kinds of epilepsy and seizure disorders, autism, MS, spasticity, terminal cancer, and incurable neurodegenerative diseases (like ALS and Parkinson’s).

We are grateful to the legislative leadership on HB 3703 who understand the overwhelming good that medical cannabis can do: Rep. Stephanie Klick, Rep. Eddie Lucio, Sen. Donna Campbell, and Sen. Jose Menendez, the 9 Senators and 62 Representatives who co- or joint-authored or cosponsored HB 3703, and all the supporters from both chambers and parties.

The success of this bill is also a testament to the work of a broad, passionate coalition, who has dislodged entrenched positions about cannabis in order to improve healthcare outcomes for their families and their fellow Texans. The Tx MAMMAs and numerous veterans stood at the forefront of this effort, and they were joined by a multitude of disability, public health, parent, and other organizations and individual advocates.

There remain many populations who would benefit enormously from safe, legal access to medical cannabis that were left behind by HB 3703: individuals with PTSD, depression and other mental health diagnoses, complex pain management needs, autoimmune disorders, traumatic brain injuries, cancer with any prognosis, and others. We know that Texans will continue to suffer because of lack of access, and CTD’s work on the issue of medical cannabis is not over with HB 3703.

That said, in three sessions, Texas leadership has gone from a hard NO on medical cannabis to policy decisions guided by science, common sense, and compassion. HB 3703 is a remarkable step forward—and we now know where we stand to take the next step for a stronger Compassionate Use Program, based on research and with the health and well-being of all of our fellow Texans in mind.

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