TEXAS — In an attempt to prove a point, Texas Gov.
Greg Abbott (R) is asking a group of medical marijuana advocates to gather on his ranch in the Lone Star State this week to prove the state’s medical marijuana laws are working.
A medical marijuana law passed by voters in 2016 allows patients to receive a limited supply of the drug at a cost of up to $8,000 a year.
Abbott has said the program is not meant to be a cash cow, but is intended to help people suffering from chronic illnesses like cancer and glaucoma.
The state’s Health and Human Services Department is set to begin issuing licenses to dispensaries next week, but Abbott has not yet announced when those licenses will be issued.
In the meantime, he said he is open to accepting applicants for the state medical marijuana registry.
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The governor’s office said in a statement that the purpose of the meeting is to get input from “individuals who have a medical need, to identify barriers that may prevent their access to marijuana, and to encourage participation in the program.
Abbott said he has asked the Texas Medical Association to submit a list of qualified applicants who have received a license in Texas for medical marijuana, along with the names of medical experts to help them evaluate the application.”
I want to see whether they are providing the level of care they should,” Abbott said.
The law allows Texans with a doctor’s recommendation to use medical marijuana for the treatment of cancer and other debilitating conditions.
Abbott said he would not enforce the law, saying that the only way to prevent abuse is to educate patients and the public about the benefits of medical cannabis.
The governor’s statement did not address whether the law would be enforced in the case of an abuse charge, or if the state would continue to hold patients responsible for their own medical marijuana use.
Abbott has said he will seek a second term as governor in 2018.