AUSTIN, Texas – The United States is poised to pass legislation allowing patients to grow, use and smoke medical marijuana under state law.
If enacted, the measure could allow Texas to join California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, as well as Washington, D.C., as the only states where recreational use of the drug is legal.
The legislation, a key component of the House Republican healthcare bill, is expected to be introduced as early as Thursday by Republican Representative Tom Cole.
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Texas is among the states that has not yet legalized medical marijuana, although the Drug Enforcement Agency has allowed some dispensaries to sell the drug at pharmacies.
Cole said it would allow for more than 100,000 Texans to grow up to six plants and have one grow licence per resident, with up to 20 dispensaries per county.
Cole’s bill would allow patients with certain illnesses to purchase marijuana from state-licensed growers, and would also allow patients to apply for permits for dispensaries to open in their area.
Cole said the legislation could help reduce the number of people in Texas suffering from chronic pain, which has nearly doubled since recreational marijuana became legal.
“If we have access to the medicine, we’ll be able to stop these deaths,” Cole said.
Texas already allows the state to license dispensaries to operate.
The Republican-led U.N. Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is recommending the U-turn on medical marijuana on Thursday, said the U