By NICK NATARIO
HOUSTON (KTRK) – On April 20, some Texas lawmakers and those in the marijuana industry celebrated as changes could be coming with the drug.
The cannabis industry has changed in Texas, and new laws have allowed those in the industry to get creative.
“I want it to be legalized,” Oilwell Cannabis owner Colin Valencia explained. “I’m just saying that’s a very hyped conversation. If you really look at what’s here now, there’s nothing you could show me that I could accomplish with what literally we have right now.”
Valencia grows something that looks like marijuana, but he says it’s not illegal.
It’s hemp – a product the state allows and one that gives him the ability to create all kinds of products.
“Right now is actually a pretty – like Renaissance – pretty important time that should be enjoyed now,” Valencia said.
As far as legal marijuana, it’s still restrictive in Texas. To use it, marijuana needs to be prescribed.
There are currently around 50,000 Texans registered, but experts say only about 10,000 actively use medical marijuana.
“By comparison to Florida, which is two-thirds the size of Texas, they have 20 million people, and we have 30 million people, and they have 700,000 patients,” Texas Original CEO Nico Richardson said.
But that number could change soon.
Texas lawmakers are considering a bill to expand who could gain access.
“Would rather dramatically increase the size of the CUP,” Richardson said. “The largest constituency of patients not being treated with medical cannabis today is chronic pain.”
The bill passed the House and is heading to the Senate. It would also change how the drug is dosed to line up with other medical treatments.
“If you were to treat a headache with 400 milligrams of Advil and there was a 1% concentration cap, you would be using 20 to 40 Advil pills every time you had a headache,” Richardson explained.
While it’s not legalization, in other states, it’s had an impact, especially with money.
The Marijuana Policy Project said in 2021 alone, $3.7 billion was generated in taxes in the state where marijuana is legal.
The CDC urges caution, saying more studies need to be done because the drug could impact your brain, lungs, and unborn children.
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