The Texas (Non) Compassionate Use Act 

I have never been much of a believer in conspiracy theories. I am convinced that there is one for every major world event. If you search long enough, you will find videos that will convince you that aliens did land in Roswell (probably the most believable of the theories out there), to LBJ being in on the assassination of JFK, to George Bush being responsible for 9/11. As P.T. Barnum allegedly once stated, “there is a sucker born every minute” and the internet has given fertile ground for hucksters to peddle their wares. I am afraid though that the Texas Legislature and Governor Abbott have shown themselves to be the modern day, Texas version of P. T. Barnum. They are hoping that we will simply hear that they have done something to help Texans with seizures (and other health problems) hoping that Texans will not take the time to learn what they have actually done.

On June 1, 2015, Governor Greg Abbott signed the Texas Compassionate Use Act (TCA) into law. That sounds good, doesn’t it? The problem is that the law has no compassion in it. That is where the introduction about conspiracy theories comes into play. You see, I believe that for all their faults, there actually are intelligent people in Austin. People who have made it through law school, medical school, business owners, ranchers and farmers, people like you and me. This makes me question then why our elected representatives actually believed that the Compassionate Use Act, as it was passed and signed into law, would help even one Texan.

We can save the discussion of its very limited application and limited medicinal formulas for another time. But suffice it to say that the law is designed to help only those whose seizures can not be controlled by traditional medicines. Here is the problem (and thus the conspiracy theory), the TCA requires that a Texas physician write a “prescription” before a patient can receive any product made available under this law. As anyone in Austin would know, any form of marijuana is a Class 1 controlled substance under Federal law and is also illegal under Federal law. Any physician who writes a prescription for even CBD oil, risks losing his/her DEA registration and face possible criminal prosecution. The other states which have legalized medical marijuana require a physician to write a “recommendation” for the product. Why? Because legislators in other states easily recognized the problem with requiring a physician to write a “prescription.”

For some reason, Texas legislators and Gov. Abbot, did not get the memo about this complication in the law. Why did physicians in the legislature, including my state senator, Dr. Donna Campbell, not recognize this problem that everyone else saw coming? You see why I raise the possibility of a conspiracy theory now? Our elected officials can now brag about helping Texans with seizures, while knowing full well, that they have done absolutely nothing to help. I do not know if there are suckers born every minute, but I do know that our elected representatives in Austin hope that Texas is full of them.



TOM BRITE is a Pleasanton Express guest columnist. You may e-mail us at

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