WASHINGTON, DC (CBSDFW.COM) – One of the nation’s largest medical cannabis patient advocacy organizations, Americans for Safe Access is calling on the government to consider cannabis businesses and dispensaries “essential” during COVID-19-related closings.

It is still illegal to use or possess marijuana under Texas law.

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However, medical cannabis is legal in Texas in very limited circumstances. Abbott signed the Texas Compassionate Use Act into law in 2015, allowing people with epilepsy to access cannabis oil with less than 0.5% THC. He also signed House Bill 3703, which expanded the list of qualifying conditions to include diseases such as Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a nonpsychoactive compound of cannabis. Businesses may sell it throughout the state as long as its THC concentration is less than 0.3%. Supporters claim it can alleviate conditions such as anxiety, depression and insomnia.

CBS 11 News spoke to Manola and Angie Banda in Garland who use CBD to treat their daughter Valentina.

“It might not work,” Manolo Banda told a CBS reporter in 2018. “But I think as a parent you want to exhaust all options.”

One side of little Valentina’s brain doesn’t function – the result of complications at birth, a stroke, and recurring small seizures— that have to be controlled with steroids and seizure medications.

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Other treatments and medicine have caused weight fluctuation, organ and immune system stress, which raised the couple’s interest in CBD oil, made from cannabis, as an option for Valentina.

“At least you did everything you could, that’s natural, that’s not harming her body, to take care of your child,” Banda said.

The ASA wants to ensure that families such as the Banda’s can access cannabis despite the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic.

“Eighteen states have now declared cannabis businesses essential,” said ASA Founder and President Steph Sherer. “And, many others are following other ASA recommendations, such as instructing medical cannabis businesses on how they can make legal temporary changes to their business plans. These include expanding delivery services, allowing curbside pickup, extending the expiration date of state-issued cannabis identification cards, and allowing telehealth visits for new and renewing medical cannabis certifications,” Sherer said.

In Texas, state law allows prosecutors to press criminal charges, typically misdemeanors for small amounts, against recreational marijuana users. They can carry fines of more than $1,000 and jail time.


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