1 July 2016

The Austin American Statesman reports….

Some state elected officials — along with some eager entrepreneurs — would like to see more allowable uses of the controversial plant when the 2017 legislative session comes around.

Last session, many Capitol observers were stunned when both chambers passedSenate Bill 339 and Gov. Greg Abbott signed it into law. The law — which was authored by now-departing state Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, and sponsored by state Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth — allows patients who suffer from a rare form of epilepsy to be treated legally with cannabidiol, or CBD as it is better known.

Cannabidiol is one of dozens of compounds found in the marijuana plant, but unlike its cousin tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, cannabidiol doesn’t produce a high or sense of euphoria.

Last session, skeptical lawmakers talked about how the measure could represent the “camel’s nose under the tent.” They predicted the bill would lead to future efforts to broaden uses of marijuana-derived medical treatments – and that’s what seems to be happening.

Supporters point to the 2016 State Convention of the Republican Party of Texas as evidence that the state’s most fervent GOP voters — the ones who drive so much of the agenda, especially in the state Senate – want more cannabis to be available for sale. At the convention, GOP loyalists approved a part of the official platform that called for a law to “allow doctors to determine the appropriate use of cannabis to prescribed patients.”

Notably, the platform didn’t differentiate between CBD and THC treatments.

The Texas Department of Public Safety hasn’t yet completed the process to permit the CBD businesses to get up and running. The first permits are scheduled to be granted in June 2017.

Texas state Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, says he is hopeful that state lawmakers will consider expanding cannabis-related medical treatments.

Among those who support expanding the law is Patrick Moran, one of the state’s most high-profile marijuana entrepreneurs.

Moran, a lawyer and businessman, is working to open a cannabis growing operation and CBD dispensary in the North Texas town of Gunter, where he is retrofitting an old cotton gin.

“The potential is there,” Moran told the American-Statesman.

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