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Advocates push for a 2017 Texas medical marijuana bill during a Constituent Advocacy Day that brought a few hundred cannabis supporters to the state capitol, in Austin.

The effort to galvanize support for cannabis in the southern state was organized by a coalition of groups including chapters of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), and Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) under the umbrella of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy.

The Texas Cannabis Report says the event was the first real push for marijuana reform in the new year. There was a glimmer of hope back in 2015, when two bills passed out of committee, but they were never heard by the full House of Representatives.

Advocates for marijuana in the Lone Star State say the best bet for a 2017 Texas medical marijuana bill is SB 269, filed by Senator José Menéndez, a Democrat from San Antonio. The bill would establish a whole plant medical cannabis program for patients with debilitating medical conditions. Currently, Texas has a Compassionate Use Program for CBD oil only.

Conditions listed in the bill include; cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, sickle cell anemia, severe fibromyalgia, spinal cord disease, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury or post-concussion syndrome, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, or Huntington’s disease, or any other medical condition approved as a debilitating medical condition by department rule or any symptom caused by the treatment of a medical condition that is approved as a debilitating medical condition by department rule.

Shaun McAlister is the Director of Dallas Fort Worth chapter of NORML. His call to action is for cannabis enthusiasts to show up to more of these political events. “Hopefully even more citizens from around the Lone Star State will consider joining us in Austin for these citizen lobby days because the only way marijuana laws change in a state like Texas is by all of us working together. Every single Texan has a role to play when it comes to ending cannabis prohibition.”