You will be able to start dispensing businesses in Texas to cultivate, process and distribute low-THC cannabis from December 2017.
Texas, as it turns out, just may be one of the best states in the nation to grow pot. On June 1, 2015, Gov. Greg Abbot signed SB 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”). 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.
Although the medical marijuana bill was signed into law in June, the guidelines of the program have yet to be hashed out, and the state does not plan to issue licenses to dispensaries until after the framework is finalized. Texas is required to issue at least three licenses in 2017, according to Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy.
“The Texas law is the narrowest marijuana law in the country, in the sense that it’s limited only to low-THC marijuana, and only for a very narrow medical range — severe convulsions,” said Frank Snyder, a Texas A&M University School of Law professor who teaches the state’s first course on marijuana law, policy and business. “On the other hand, the process for getting a license and beginning to cultivate is probably the most liberal law of any of the medical marijuana states that I’m familiar with right now, in terms of putting up the fewest barriers to entry.”
Texas began accepting applications for dispensing organizations in March 2017. Two months later, DPS announced it had selected three applicants out of the 43 that applied to receive preliminary licenses as dispensing organizations. Three licenses have been issued.
The first went to Cansortium Texas on Sept. 1. Another permit was issued to Compassionate Cultivation, which is growing plants in a more than 7,000-square-foot warehouse in Austin. A third license was issued to Suterra Texas in the form of a conditional Texas license. This company has yet to receive the final approval needed to plant the seeds.
Each company had to pay a nearly $500,000 fee once approved for the process, which officials say is needed to pay regulatory expenses. And a $318,511 renewal fee will be due in two years if they want to continue making and selling medical marijuana in Texas.
Cansortium Texas, one of three companies licensed to grow and sell medical marijuana in Texas, is poised to be the first company to get the product on the market. The medicine would be personally delivered to Texans by the company in white, unmarked delivery vans that include built-in security measures. Drivers will travel with a nurse or social worker who can answer any questions patients have when deliveries are made, officials say.
It is predicted that Texas’ low-THC cannabis industry could yield $100 million to $300 million a year in revenue.
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