Texas Medical Marijuana License

Medical Marijuana in Texas

In 2015, Texas passed Senate Bill 339, The Compassionate Use Act, authorizing patients with intractable epilepsy to use oils derived from low THC strains of cannabis. Because of the specificity of this law, the size of the market is very small. Early in 2017, the Department of Public Safety accepted applications for vertically integrated medical marijuana businesses. Three dispensing organizations (able to cultivate, process, and dispense) received licenses to operate by the end of 2017.

The current market is exceptionally small: as of January 2018, no patients qualified to access medical marijuana products and only 11 physicians had registered to participate in the program. The program also requires physicians to “prescribe” medical marijuana as opposed to “recommending” it to patients; this distinction puts physicians at risk.

If the medical marijuana program changes to become similar to other states (authorizing additional qualifying conditions such as chronic pain), and allows a wider variety of medical marijuana strains and products, the program has the potential to become much larger. Changes could come during the 2019 legislative session.

If Texas legalizes marijuana for adult use, the market could be as large as $3 billion, according to industry analyst firm Arcview.

On June 1, 2015, Governor Greg Abbot signed Senate Bill 339, a limited medical marijuana bill, into law. Known as the Texas Compassionate Use Act, it is intended to allow some qualifying patients to access “low-THC cannabis,” marijuana that contains 10% or more cannabidiol (CBD) and not more than 0.5% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Intractable epilepsy was originally the only medical condition that could qualify patients to participate in the program.

The Texas Department of Public Safety was tasked to develop the administrative rules for the program which includes the requirements for state-regulated businesses known as “Dispensing Organizations” to cultivate, process, and distribute low-THC cannabis. In December 2017, the first licenses to dispense, cultivate, or process marijuana to fulfill the 2015 Compassionate Care Law were granted.

On July 14, 2019, House Bill 3703 was signed into law to expand the state’s Compassionate Use Program. House Bill 3703 will help the existing medical marijuana program grow by allowing more qualifying patients to join the program and by making the process to become a registered patient easier. The bill expands the list of qualifying medical conditions and requires the approval of one physician instead of two to become a registered patient. The new law will add all seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, ALS, autism, terminal cancer, and an incurable neurodegenerative disease as qualifying medical conditions.

As a result of the passage of House Bill 3703, the state is anticipating an increased patient demand and has determined it is necessary to license additional Dispensing Organizations. The Texas Department of Public Safety’s Compassionate Use Program began accepting applications for Dispensing Organization licenses on October 1, 2019, with intent to accept applications through November 1, 2019. However, on October 9, 2019, the Department rescinded the application forms and information with no explanation or indication if/when applications will resume.

With the legislature in session for 2021, it is possible we see the framework open up.

Program Timeline:

  • June 1, 2015 – Senate Bill 339 was signed into law
  • September 18, 2015 – Compassionate Use Program Proposed Administrative Rules published
  • January 10, 2016 – Administrative Rules take effect
  • March 1, 2017 – Department began accepting applications for Dispensing Organizations
  • March 31, 2017 – Application submission deadline for Dispensing Organizations
  • By December 15, 2017 – Department awarded Dispensing Organization licenses to top 3 scoring applicants
  • July 14, 2019 – House Bill 3703 signed into law
  • October 1, 2019 – Department to open applications for additional Dispensing Organization licenses
  • October 9, 2019 – Department unexpectedly closed applications for additional Dispensing Organization licenses
  • TBD – Department to possibly re-open applications

Qualifying Medical Conditions:

Intractable Epilepsy, All Seizure Disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, Spasticity, ALS, Autism, Terminal Cancer, and an Incurable Neurodegenerative Disease

Texas Medical Cannabis Applications

Currently, there is not an open process to apply for Marijuana Business Licenses in Texas. However, there will likely be an open application process in the near future as a bill was recently passed to allow for a broadened medical marijuana framework. We will update the site once the application process does open up again. You can provide your information here to be notified once the application process does open up again. If you are interested in acquiring a Texas Medical Marijuana Treatment Center License, then contact us to discuss your options.

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