The Texas Senate has approved two bills—one that lowers the penalty for cannabis concentrate possession and another that permits researchers in Texas to study the therapeutic potential of psychedelic substances, such as psilocybin.
Still, these bills aren’t ready to be signed by the governor, since there have been a number of revisions made to them. They must first go to the originating chamber, where they can be properly revised.
House Billl 1802 seems to have garnered the most attention, because allowing psychedelic therapies is a huge, unexpected step forward for the typically Republican state. This bill is most interested in alternative treatment paths for those struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). More particularly, the bill seeks interest in psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine.
The other bill, House Bill 2593 has already made Texas history. The state hasn’t minimized penalties on cannabis possession since the 1970s. Now, residents will only be charged with a class B misdemeanor if they’re carrying up to 56 grams of concentrates.
In a separate bill that has recently passed in the state’s House, laws would change to expand Texas’ medical cannabis program. These changes include:
- Qualifying people with debilitating health conditions
- Adding all chronic pain patients
- Including anyone who’s diagnosed with PTSD (rather than just veterans with PTSD)
- Raising the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) limit from 0.5 percent to 1 percent
While there remains a lot of uncertainty with the approval of this House Bill, advocates are hoping the state will follow through.
Furthermore, with these changes, Texas is also trying to ban the possession of the unregulated Delta-8 THC market.
In fact, this is one of the biggest difficulties Texas is having with these bills. Most Delta-8-THC products come from the hemp industry, which is federally legal. Since there is discord between federal and state laws, there’s been little control over the output of products hitting the market.