HB 2107Thankfully Rep. Four Price, chairman of the House Committee of Public Health, scheduled a hearing for House Bill (HB) 2107, medical cannabis bill, and it was voted out on May 5, 2017, and is now in the Calendars Committee. The House is very much behind schedule. Even though Rep. Price voted against the bill, it was compassionate of him to still schedule a hearing for it. HB 2107 is now in Calendars Committee waiting to be scheduled to the House. Exactly 77 House Representatives have already signed HB 2107, so when it does leave Calendars Committee it will have a swift vote and move onto having the Senate vote on it too. Senate Bill (SB) 269 is identical to HB 2107 and has been sitting in the Senate Committee on Health and Human services chaired by Dr. Charles Schwertner.
Who is Dr. Schwertner?
This has been a long couple of months for those lobbying in Austin for comprehensive bills that align with their corresponding causes. Per Houston NORML’s mission, we have been working with other cannabis coalitions to try to get medical cannabis bills passed.
SB 269 is waiting for a hearing to be scheduled by Dr. Charles Schwertner who is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services; the committee responsible for setting public health policy for the state, regulating physicians and other health professions, and providing legislative oversight of the state’s health-related agencies.
Why hasn’t Dr. Schwertner scheduled a hearing for SB 269?
HB 2107 has left the Health Committee thanks to Rep. Price, and is waiting in Calendars Committee before getting to the House where 77 House reps have already signed it. This bill was written after SB 269, with the same verbiage, yet SB 269 has not seen the same amount of support.
Charles Schwertner is a doctor and has been presented with many medical testimonials alongside many scientific studies showing the medical benefits cannabis has to offer. It was very strange to us why he had all this evidence and hasn’t considered scheduling a hearing for SB 269 even after seeing all this support for HB 2107.
Below is a table of donors and the amounts given. We’re hoping that maybe this will shed some light.
[UPDATE The reason why HB 2107 has over 77 reps supporting it is because the following clauses were removed from the text of the bill:*protection of parental rights for those using or administering medical cannabis; *protects patients from being charged with paraphernalia; *caps licensing fees at $5,000; *allows patient or registered caregiver to grow a minimum of 6 plants in a secured location. There is also a new clause that says cannabis must be must be administered by a means other than smoking.
Lobbyists in Austin are hoping amend these clauses when it is time to vote]