A leading medical marijuana retailer just opened its fourth location in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, evidence of the growth this business is having in the region.
But even as support grows for legal cannabis, Texas officials have been wary of fully embracing legalization for non-medical uses, and they are right to feel that way.
Yes, Texas is taking baby steps compared to other states, but that is the right approach because it gives time for scientific and social research to establish clearer conclusions about the impact of expanded legalization for medical or recreational use.
Public sentiment may be ahead of political will. A Dallas Morning News/UT Tyler August poll revealed that 72 percent of Texans support marijuana use for medical purposes, and 55 percent are behind recreational use.
At least one statewide official, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, has voiced support for expanding medical use. “It’s about freedom. It’s about less government oversight, it’s about less regulation. It’s everything that being a conservative stands for,” he recently wrote.
Currently, medical cannabis can be prescribed in Texas to treat certain conditions, including epilepsy, cancer, PTSD and neurodegenerative disorders.
Marijuana advocates want to add chronic pain as a qualifying condition for the Compassionate Use Program.
Advocates, including Texas Original CEO Morris Denton, suggest that cannabis could be a less dangerous option than opioids for treating patients.