As Texas begins the process of recovering after Hurricane Harvey, the state is also taking a step forward with its medical marijuana program. Recently, Texas granted its first license to a medical marijuana producer. Now, for the first time, The Lone Star State will have a company growing and producing legal medical marijuana products.
Texas Licenses Company To Produce Medical Marijuana
On September 1, the Texas Department of Public Safety issued its first-ever license to grow medical marijuana. The department gave the license to a cannabis company called Cansortium Texas.
With the license, the company can legally begin producing medical marijuana products. But since Texas’s medical marijuana program is relatively restrictive, the company will only be allowed to make certain products.
Cansortium Texas was one of three cannabis companies to receive early approval from the state.
There were 43 companies that applied for licenses. In May, the state gave licenses to Cansortium, Surterra Texas, and Compassionate Cultivation.
The other two weed companies are still waiting to get their final licenses. So until now, only Cansortium Texas can start the production process.
A Long Time Coming
Friday’s license is the latest step in what has been a long and often times slow process. Back in 2015, Texas approved the Compassionate Use Act.
This law made it possible for people with severe epilepsy to use medical marijuana. In the two years since that law was passed, the state has slowly worked to bring the program online.
And while many are hopeful that Friday’s license will help it move the program forward, many remain skeptical. In fact, Texas’s medical marijuana program has come under fire for being too narrow and restrictive.
For starters, patients can only use certain forms of medical marijuana. More specifically, the state restricts them to using products with extremely low levels of THC. Approved medical marijuana products must have 0.5 percent THC or lower.
On top of that, experts have argued that the law makes it very difficult for doctors to participate in the program.
Under the language of the law, doctors in the program would “prescribe” medical marijuana. This could be a problem since this would require doctors to officially prescribe a substance that is illegal at the federal level. This distinction could get doctors in trouble.
As a result, there are very few doctors in the program. Obviously, a lack of participating doctors would also make medical marijuana less accessible to patients.
Final Hit: Texas Grants First Medical Marijuana Producer License
There is growing popular support for legal weed in Texas. According to a recent poll, “83 percent of Texans support legalizing marijuana for some use; 53 percent would go beyond legal medical marijuana to allow possession for any use.”
Despite this support, many in the state remain opposed to marijuana. In any case, the state’s medical marijuana program has been relatively slow to take shape.
But as Texas grants its first medical marijuana producer license, the program could be undergoing an important development.