Top 5 Things to Know About Texas Medical Marijuana Law
Nov. 24, 2017
With the creation of Texas’s Compassionate Use Program (CUP) in 2015, the Texas Legislature has finally agreed to jump onto the medical marijuana bandwagon. Though it has been legalized for some, Texas’s medical marijuana law is still narrow, so its important to know precisely what the law allows.
1. Medical Marijuana Isn’t Available for Everyone
To start, a prescription for medical marijuana will only be available to certain people. You won’t be able to get a legal medical marijuana prescription in Texas unless you are one of the 150,000 Texans diagnosed with intractable epilepsy. Intractable epilepsy is a severe form of epilepsy that is difficult to treat with traditional medication. Medical marijuana has been shown to be an effective tool for treating this debilitating condition.
Since medical marijuana has been shown to effectively treat other conditions besides epilepsy, lawmakers may decide to expand the program at some point in the future. But for now, only people with intractable epilepsy will be able to receive a prescription.
2. All Texas Medical Marijuana Must Have Low THC
Following in the footsteps of other conservative states like Florida, Texas’s law requires that all its medical marijuana products have low levels of THC. More specifically, any medicinal product must have less than 0.5 percent tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) by weight. Texas has chosen to focus its medical efforts around cannabinol (CBD) rather than THC, so prescribed products must have low or no THC and contain at least 10% CBD by weight. CBD is great for medical purposes because CBD still retains most of the health effects that make medical marijuana so effective, but it does not produce the same psychoactive effects that regular marijuana is so known for. This makes CBD perfect for medicinal uses.
3. A Directory is Available to Find Physicians Who Can Prescribe Medical Marijuana
The Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT) went live on September 1, 2017. Qualified physicians can use the system to register with the Department of Public Safety and to prescribe low-THC cannabis to patients. Prescriptions can then be filled by licensed dispensing organizations once low-THC cannabis product is available. Patients will not need access to CURT because their physicians will add them to the system.
4. There Will be Only Three Dispensaries (For Now)
When the CUP bill was passed, it only required “at least” three organizations be licensed to produce, cultivate and dispense medical marijuana in Texas. A number of organizations have been conditionally approved for the program, but only two organizations have actually been licensed. On September 1, 2017, Cansortium Texas was issued a license to begin operating within the state. Similarly, on October 31, 2017, Compassionate Cultivation became the second organization to receive a full license to operate. The first CBD products should be ready by December.
5. Growing and Smoking Marijuana is Still Illegal, Even with a Prescription
Even if you have a prescription, it is still illegal to grow or smoke marijuana products. Patients are required to purchase low-THC cannabis products from a licensed dispensing organization. Texas law also specifically excludes smoking from the definition of "medical use." It is also important to note that even if you have an out-of-state prescription permitting other kinds of uses, Texas’s bill only authorizes the possession of low-THC cannabis that is obtained through a prescription issued by a physician registered with the CUP program.