SAN ANTONIO - When the Texas legislature goes into session on Jan. 8, the legalization of medical marijuana is certain to be a hot-button issue.
Noting that it is already legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia, Sen. Jose Menendez says the time has come for Texas to make its use legal here.
“Why are we making people either criminals or forcing them to leave the state of Texas?” Menendez asked. “In every state that surrounds Texas, you can access medical marijuana.”
The only exception in Texas is the Texas Compassionate Use Program, or “T-CUP,” which allows only patients with intractable epilepsy to receive low doses of medical marijuana.
“What keeps medical marijuana from moving forward is the fear that politicians have of getting retribution at the ballot box,” Menendez suggested.
There is still a very real stigma, he said, attached to just the use of the word marijuana.
“What people need to stop thinking about when they hear the word marijuana is, this is not about people behind the high school or cruising in the park trying to get stoned,” Menendez said.
Rather, he said, it is about the elderly, former military members with post-traumatic stress disorder and any other patients seeking help.
“Here is something that is available and doctors should be given the ability to treat patients how they see us the best thing available for those patients," the senator said.
Menendez is quick to add that he is not advocating for the use of recreational marijuana, but is asking only for what he said is long overdue doctor-involved treatment for people with a medical reason for its use.
Copyright 2018 by KSAT - All rights reserved.