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Texas House passes bill to expand access to state's medical marijuana program


A worker at Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation harvests buds from marijuana plants. - COURTESY PHOTO / TEXAS ORIGINAL COMPASSIONATE CULTIVATION
  • Courtesy Photo / Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation
  • A worker at Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation harvests buds from marijuana plants.
The Texas House has approved a bill to allow people with a wider variety of ailments to access the state's medical marijuana program, the Texas Tribune reports. It would also boost the potency of pot prescribed to patients.

House Bill 1535 would expand the state's compassionate use program to include people with chronic pain, those with PTSD and all cancer patients. Currently, only those with a limited number of diagnoses, including terminal cancer, seizure disorders, autism and intractable epilepsy, can legally access pot in the state.

What's more, the proposal would raise the cap for THC — the compound in marijuana that produces a high — allowed in prescription pot from 0.5% to 5%, the Tribune reports.

At present, just 3,500 people are enrolled in the state's compassionate use program. Critics have complained that the program is restricted to too few patients and that the potency of prescription marijuana is far too low.

The Senate will now consider the bill, which was authored by Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, who wrote the 2015 bill creating the state's compassionate use program.

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