Medical Marijuana in Texas
On June 1, 2015, Governor 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 (“DPS”) 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 vertically-integrated licenses to dispense, cultivate, or process marijuana to fulfill the 2015 Compassionate Use Act were granted.
As of January 2018, no patients qualified to access medical marijuana products and only eleven (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.
On July 14, 2019, House Bill 3703 was signed into law to expand the Texas’ Compassionate Use Program. House Bill 3703 purpose was to 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 expanded the list of qualifying medical conditions and required the approval of one physician instead of two to become a registered patient. The new law added 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 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 However, on October 9, 2019, the Department rescinded the application forms and information with no explanation or indication if/when applications will resume. Fortunately, in 2021, HB 1535 was signed into law, which authorizes the increase of maximum levels of THC from 0.5% to 1% and further expands patient qualifications to include all forms of cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”).
On April 28, 2023, the Texas Compassionate Use Program accepted applications to license additional Dispensing Organizations in the “Lone Star State” to better serve the increasing patient population. Currently, the program has yet to release who will be awarded such coveted licenses.
Qualifying Medical Conditions
Intractable Epilepsy, All Seizure Disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, Spasticity, ALS, Autism, Terminal Cancer, an Incurable Neurodegenerative Disease, All Forms of Cancer, and PTSD.
Applications for Medical Marijuana Business Licenses in Texas
Currently, there is not an open application process for Medical Marijuana Business Licenses in Texas. The most recent application window closed on April 28, 2023 at 5 PM (CT).
Applicants had to set themselves apart through their unique expertise and technical abilities on cultivating, processing, and/or dispensing cannabis and cannabis products. From providing a main location to conduct all services, as well as distribution hubs across the state to promote patient access to providing an in-depth security plan, including HIPAA-compliance, these were just a few of the several regulatory requirements applicants had to demonstrate to be eligible to apply.
During the 2023 legislative session, over fifteen (15) bills or constitutional amendments were introduced to either expand the medical marijuana program or implement an adult-use market in Texas. With 82% of Texans supporting the expansion of their state’s medical marijuana program, there will be a new application window in the near future to ensure sufficient patient access in 2nd most populated state in the country.
If you are interested in acquiring a Texas Medical Marijuana Treatment Center License, then contact us to discuss your options.
Last Updated: July 20th, 2023