11/18/2014, Leading TX marijuana legislator, 2015 session best chance yet for medical cannabis


In the 2013 session, Naishtat filed the bill, as he had five times before. In the last session, though, it received a hearing in the House Public Health Committee for the first time. Though it did not get a vote, Naishtat said the hearing was “important incremental change,” and that its chances of passage in the upcoming session, which begins January 5, are greater.

The hearing featured powerful testimony, Naishtat said, including that of Vincent Lopez. Lopez is a muscular dystrophy patient and user of medicinal marijuana. In 2013, he founded the Patient Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics (PACT), an organization that allows patients a safe place to share their stories and helps patients advocate. Lopez spoke Wednesday about coming out of the “cannabis closet.”

“In stepping out of the cannabis closet, I had always been familiar with the feelings of fear and intimidation, but nothing compared to the weight I was carrying by not coming out, by not saying anything, by living life in secret,” he said. “No longer could I live in silence knowing I had an answer in cannabis for the painful muscle spasms, the stiffness and contortion I endure, the loss of appetite and sleep.”

Leslie Grady McAhren, executive director and director of research at CG Corrigan Inc., a nonprofit licensed medical cannabis provider based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, said studies show a 28.4 percent decrease in opiate deaths in states with medical marijuana, like New Mexico…

Other patient advocates at the event included AmyLou Fawell, president of Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism, and Terri Davis Carriker, founder of Embrace Moms, a support group for Christian mothers whose children suffer from medical conditions and disabilities.

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