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Medical marijuana advocates are upset with Texas medical marijuana laws, providing only restrictive access to cannabis for medical uses. The 2015 Compassionate Use Act allows neurologists and epileptologists to “prescribe” low dose THC, cannabis based medicines to those with certain types of epilepsy.
The issue that marijuana advocates take with the law is both the wording and the means of access. Qualifying patients need to obtain consent from two doctors that marijuana is needed, following which the patient can be entered into a registry, and at an undisclosed date patients will start receiving the drug. In a first-of-its-kind move for medical marijuana, the law states that doctors must “prescribe” the drug to patients, rather than “recommend” marijuana. As the DEA is a federal agency that controls prescription drugs, and marijuana continues to be a schedule I drug on the federal level, a doctor, cannot, under DEA regulations, prescribe marijuana. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on a California case that doctors could not be punished for “recommending” marijuana in states where it is legal, however, doctors cannot prescribe it as a medicine.
Could this be a step in the right direction for medical marijuana? If it is to be used as a drug to help with various medical conditions, yes. Prescription medicines that are regulated by the DEA have to undergo extensive research, trials, strenuous approval processes, etc., before they can become available for public use. If we are going to use marijuana as a “medicine”, shouldn’t it be subject to the same regulations?