Production of low-THC, high-CBD cannabis can begin in Texas, as the state’s Department of Public Safety granted one of three planned licenses to a medical marijuana producer on Friday.
The constricted medical marijuana program was created by the Texas Compassionate Use Act more than two years ago. Currently, only patients suffering from intractable epilepsy are allowed to receive low-THC cannabis with permission from a very limited number of physicians.
Cansortium Texas, the company that received the license on Friday, will now start growing medical cannabis. Two other companies, Compassionate Cultivation and Surterra, were granted provisional licenses back in May but are still waiting on their final licenses.
Heather Fazio, Texas political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, told Leafly that it remains unclear why the other two cultivators weren’t issued final licenses today. Each of the three that were given provisional licenses had to pass onsite inspections before given a final license to start producing, so that may be a reason.
Even with the delivery of a first license, the Texas medical marijuana program still has major issues to work through.
According to the Marijuana Policy Project, data obtained from the Texas Medical Bureau, the American Board of Psychiatry, Neurology, and the American Board of Clinical Neurophysiology indicate that only 411 doctors in Texas have the necessary qualifications to register for the program.
According to MPP, this amounts to approximately 0.54% of the licensed physicians in Texas.
The number who actually register will likely end up being lower. Some physicians may not decide to register in light of the personal and professional risk involved.
“The few patients that could be helped by this program are now one step closer to finding relief,” Fazio said. “However, the extremely limited scope and flawed language may doom the program unless it is revised.”
So far, all attempts to fix the program have failed. Earlier this year, Rep. Eddie Lucio III introduced HB 2107, which would have resolved the problems contained in the current Compassionate Use Program.
A majority of House members signed on as supporters, but the bill did not end up getting to a floor vote before the end of the session.