By Jeronimo Saldaña

In Utah, you have a better chance of being executed by a firing squad than you have of accessing medical marijuana.

Utah’s state legislature recently passed a law allowing for execution by firing squad in the event that the drugs used to carry out capital punishment were unavailable. In the same session, a medical marijuana bill that would have allowed seriously ill patients access to medical marijuana failed to even make it out of the Senate.

Luckily, most legislative sessions are still in process and there is considerable opportunity to bring this medicine to tens of thousands of severely ill patients who so desperately need it.

On the federal level, a bill from Senate Democrats Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand and Republican Senator Rand Paul would work to “remove the threat of federal prosecution for patients who use it in states where it is legal.”

It is exciting to see such sensible, bipartisan legislation be introduced from elected officials on both sides of the political aisle, and more importantly, to see science and the health of our citizens trumping politics.

Across the country, only 23 states currently allow for access to medical marijuana, but a range of advocates, including veterans, patients, parents, and medical professional, are actively lobbying for access in their state. This year alone, more than 20 states have bills pending to address access to medical marijuana- including Texas.

Yes, Texas.

“Thousands of Texas veterans use medical cannabis to treat PTSD, chronic pain, and other service-related disabilities,” said retired U.S. Army Major David Bass. “Veterans should not have to flee the state or depend on the criminal market to access the medication that best fits their needs. Now is the time for Texas to approve safe and legal access to therapeutic cannabis.”

Rep. Marisa Márquez, (D-El Paso), the House sponsor of Texas’ first ever comprehensive medical marijuana legislation, HB 3785, recently stood alongside parents and patients at a press conference introducing the bill to say “as a state that leads the nation in innovative medical research, Texas needs to take a scientific and reasoned approach to the known benefits of medical marijuana.”

The bill, introduced in the State Senate by Sen.Jose Menéndez, would create a system in which individuals with qualifying medical conditions receive licenses allowing them to possess limited amounts of medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. It would also establish a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana cultivators, processors, and dispensaries to qualified applicants.

“Every day that Texas moms care for children living with cancer, epilepsy, autism, and other debilitating conditions without access to medical marijuana, is a day of added suffering,” said AmyLou Fawell, co-founder of Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism (MAMMA)and member of Texans For Medical Freedom, a broad coalition of Texas veterans, patients, medical professionals, advocates and organizations, helping to lead advocacy efforts on comprehensive medical marijuana legislation.

Health, compassion and science all lead to the same conclusions- medical marijuana is an effective medicine that thousands of patients in 23 states can attest to.

Thousands of Texas veterans like David Bass and mothers like AmyLou should not be forced to endure needless suffering, or watch the suffering of their children, simply because of the state they choose to call home.

Jerónimo Saldaña is the legislative and organizing coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance.

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Author: Jeronimo Saldaña
Date Published: April 2, 2015
Published by Drug Policy Alliance

Via:: Ddrug Policy Alliance