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Texas Legislature 2019

"I don't do this for fun." Patients are hopeful Texas will expand access to medical cannabis

The Texas Legislature is about to kick off its first session since three licensed marijuana dispensaries opened in the state, providing cannabis products for hundreds of patients. Now advocates are hopeful that lawmakers are ready to dramatically expand that program to thousands more Texans who stand to benefit.

Joshua Raines, an Afghanistan combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient, smokes from his marijuana vape pen after returning home early from his son's choir performance due to experiencing PTSD symptoms.

Texas Legislature 2019

The 86th Legislature runs from Jan. 8 to May 27. From the state budget to health care to education policy — and the politics behind it all — we focus on what Texans need to know about the biennial legislative session.

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Raines uses these fast acting drops containing THC and CBD (both chemicals found in marijuana) when his hand tremors become debilitating.
Joshua Raines, an Afghanistan combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient, smokes from his marijuana vape pen after returning home early from his son's choir performance due to experiencing PTSD symptoms.

A rocky start

Joshua Raines, combat veteran and medical marijuana advocate, poses for a portrait with his Purple Heart. He was wounded in Afghanistan in October of 2010. Upon his return, he experienced complicated feelings towards his accolades, at one point putting them in the trash.

“Why stop there?”

Plants of marijuana at Compassionate Cultivation, a home-grown medical cannabis company in Austin, Texas that serves patients throughout Texas  on January 19, 2017
Marijuana plants at Compassionate Cultivation, a home-grown medical cannabis company in Austin that serves patients throughout Texas. Jan. 19, 2017.

“Unfortunately, it’s politics at play.”

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A legislative appetite and renewed support

Josh Raines (left) and his son Tristan go through the combat veteran's medals in their dining room. Raines, a medical marijuana advocate and user, served in Afghanistan and was wounded in 2010 causing severe PTSD and seizures.

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Health care State government 86th Legislative Session Marijuana Texas Legislature