The bill creates a medical cannabis research program and raises the cap on THC from 0.5% to 5%.
Expanding the state’s medical marijuana program is of the utmost importance to former Dallas Cowboy Jay Novacek and his wife, Amy Novacek. Both have worked tirelessly advocating for the bill on behalf of their son, Blake who they say can better manage his seizures thanks to medical marijuana. He has struggled with a multitude of health issues, including seizures and migraines from a traumatic head injury in 2015. Blake has up to 15 seizures a day and has injured himself when that happens.
“He was in a fraternity hazing incident,” said Amy. “He was hit in the stomach with a baseball bat. He fell back and cracked his head and was unconcious for six to ten hours, and he was left there to die. And this is the repercussions of it.”
Two years ago, one of Blake’s doctors prescribed medical marijuana under the state’s “Compassionate Use Program.” And it helped. But there are some serious drawbacks.
Blake has to ingest his medical marijuana through carrier oil. But current restrictions can cause side effects for some patients because of the amount they need to ingest. Blake has suffered serious gastrointestinal issues from the amount of oil, not the amount of medicine in it.
The couple said the bill isn’t about increasing the amount of drugs but making improvements to the current medical marijuana program.
The Novaceks want to raise the cap on THC from .5% to 5% so less oil becomes more effective. The oil is effective, but there’s just too much of it. This means the amount their son would take every day would be in a more concentrated form.
“If the bill passes tomorrow, he’ll still take six milligrams. The difference? He doesn’t take this,” Amy explained holding up a glass filled with oil. She then placed a dropper in the glass, held it up and said, “He would take this.”
In other words, the amount of medicine Blake will take everyday is exactly the same.
“It’s about less oil.”
The Novacek’s believe the full senate may take up the measure today, May 25th. They said they hope the senators end up reconsidering the 5% proposal.
But the Senate State Affairs Committee decided late Monday afternoon not to approve 5% . They chose instead to increase it to 1% — just a half percent more than the current cap.
“I think a lot of it is they don’t understand. They say okay, we’ve already got it at 0.5 percent. Now you want to raise it to five?” said Jay. “And they don’t understand that we’re not trying to change the amount he takes per day. That’s all prescribed. We can’t change that.”
“We did everything we were asked to do,” said Amy. “And we found a medicine that works. And there’s some lawmakers that would have him go back to medicines that make him comatose and stay in bed and have no life, because they are truly uninformed and scared that if they pass the 5% — again, it’s about less oil — that the state of Texas is going to run rampant, and it’s going to open the doors that 15 years from now we’re going to be a drug-induced state.”
They emphasize that this has nothing at all to do with recreational marijuana, which is not something they have ever supported. This is about giving their son a measure of his life back.
“We just want to give Blake the opportunity — and the other Texans on this medicine — to live their lives the best they can with the cards they’ve been dealt,” says Amy.