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Texas senator files bill to expand medical marijuana law in state

Current law only covers patients suffering from intractable epilepsy

AUSTIN – Texas Senator Jose Menendez filed a bill Tuesday that would expand the state’s medical marijuana law.

The legislation looks to increase the number of debilitating medical conditions that qualify for the Texas Compassionate Use Program.

Menendez believes doctors, not politicians, should determine what’s best for Texas patients. He held a news conference in Austin prior to filing the bill Tuesday.

Menendez said medical cannabis is a legitimate medicine that can help people suffering from a variety of maladies, from cancer to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Current law only covers patients suffering from intractable epilepsy and only permits access to certain types of medical marijuana.

“Some of the aspects of the bill that's been introduced, as I understand it, include edibles, vaporization and some of these methods of using marijuana that may be safer than smoking it,” said Dr. Brett Ginsberg, associate professor for the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio’s psychiatry department.

Ginsberg said growing evidence shows marijuana may be able to lower the amount of opioids prescribed to patients for pain.

Should the bill become law, it would still require strict consultation and recommendation from a doctor for a patient to be able to use medical marijuana.