Dan Patrick

Who Hates Medical Marijuana in Texas?

The witness list from the public hearing for HB 3703, a House bill that expands the use of medical marijuana, shows that law enforcement entities testified in opposition.

The witness list from the public hearing for HB 3703, a House bill that expands the use of medical marijuana, shows that law enforcement entities testified in opposition.

Who Hates Medical Marijuana in Texas?

Answer: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Law Enforcement

During the 86th Legislative session, local Austin talk radio hosts Jeff and Ed  opined the fact that although HB 3703—a compassionate use bill which would allow persons with epilepsy, cancer and other severe diseases to legally obtain medical marijuana—had passed the House, it might not pass the Senate.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who has the ability to block bills from the Senate floor, said that he did not support medical marijuana, due to concerns that it could pave the way toward full legalization of the drug.

Ed, or Ed Clements, who “currently serves as a board member of the Capitol of Texas Alzheimer's Association” and supports the bill, wondered if lawmakers like Patrick lacked compassion for the suffering and also hypothesized that perhaps big drug companies were opposing the measure. He said he wished he had the campaign donation records for Texas lawmakers to determine if that was the case.

According to our data at Influence Texas, Big Pharma is not a factor in opposition to medical marijuana in Texas. In general, no Big Pharma companies are big donors in Texas state politics as a whole, as you can see from the Top Donors list. Additionally, if you examine top donors to individual Texas lawmakers, there is a lack of a presence from Big Pharma.*

Additionally, by examining the HB 3703 Witness List showing entities who showed up to testify in favor of or against the bill, you can see the opponents on record are mainly enforcement entities.

Emerson College Polling released a poll in April 2019 showing that the vast majority of Texans support policies favoring medical marijuana (35% support it for medical purposes only, and 38% support full legalization), in contrast to only 14% of Texans who favor keeping marijuana illegal.

Despite the state’s current strict marijuana policies, a plurality (38%) of Texans support full legalization, 35% support marijuana use for medical purposes only, 13% would like it decriminalized, and 14% said it should remain illegal.

Despite the state’s current strict marijuana policies, a plurality (38%) of Texans support full legalization, 35% support marijuana use for medical purposes only, 13% would like it decriminalized, and 14% said it should remain illegal.

HB 3703 passed the Senate by a unanimous vote and went into effect on June 14, 2019.

* The free Influence Texas web app provides campaign finance records from the most recent election cycle.