Anthony Abba looks like almost any other 9 year-old-boy, bouncing on a backyard trampoline with his sister and his mom. As an infant, though, he couldn't do what other kids could.
Anthony had developmental problems early, and soon he was diagnosed as autistic.
"He was pretty severe," his mother Anna said. "He couldn't talk or play games."
At the time, the Abba family lived in California, which allowed them to have legal access to medical marijuana. Anna says that the medicine made a dramatic difference in treating his autism.
"His anxiety went down, he started learning," she described. "He started doing things on the playground so much easier, he started climbing things."
When she gave her son the liquid form of cannabis, she says his digestion, sleep, and anxiety all improved. And he even made progress in school.
"His teacher was like, ‘he's a different kid.’ And I know it's because cannabis calmed him down enough to be able to learn," she recalled.
This year, though, to be closer to family, they moved to Texas, where medical marijuana is still almost entirely illegal. And Anthony has suffered.
"The tummy bloat, it came right back. And the anxiety, oh my gosh, the anxiety. It's like you took away his coping mechanism," she said.
Texas has had strong prohibitions against marijuana for nearly 100 years. In 1919, the state restricted its purchase as a narcotic. In 1923, it banned possession. In 1931, it allowed life sentences for possession. Finally, 42 years later in 1973, Texas relaxed the law, allowing possession of small amounts to be classified as a misdemeanor.
After another 42 years, in 2015, a proposal to legalize recreational use died. But the state passed the Compassionate Use Act, which allows the use of low-THC cannabis oil for some epilepsy patients.
This year, public support for legalized marijuana in Texas has grown to an all-time high. A new poll found that 83 percent of Texans support legalizing some form of marijuana.
In response to that momentum, Texas state lawmakers have filed at least 17 marijuana-related bills.
State Senator Jose Menendez has filed Senate Bill 269, which would simply broaden access to medical marijuana under the Compassionate Use Act.
"I'd like to make it legal for doctors to prescribe recommended medical-based cannabis," Menendez said. "It's not about people getting high. It's about doctors and patients choosing what's the best medical treatment for them."
Despite growing public support and more bills in the legislature, Governor Greg Abbot's on the record as saying:
"Texas [should not] open the door for conventional marijuana to be used for medical or medicinal purposes and as governor I will not allow it."
So the battle lines are drawn.
The Texas medical community remains largely mute on this topic. Most Texas doctors can't speak from experience and want to avoid political controversy. A small minority, however, advocate for reform.
"What I tell people is, don't personify an organic compound," said Dr. Carl Bonnet, a pain specialist and ER doctor in San Antonio.
Dr. Bonnet believes that greater access is long overdue. He's a veteran who's seen the benefits of medical marijuana treating his patients' pain, seizures, and nausea.
"We need to get rid of hypocrisy and pre-conceived notions,” Dr. Bonnet added.
But until state lawmakers respond to changing that public opinion, even kids like Anthony will have to avoid medical marijuana altogether while in the Lone Star State.