January 30, 2023

The Texas Department of Public Safety is accepting applications to become a licensed medical marijuana distribution organization as part of the state’s effort to further expand its Compassionate Use Program.

In Texas, medical marijuana is legal but severely restricted. Patients must be enrolled in the compassionate use program with a doctor’s prescription to treat specific chronic symptoms.

Patients may be prescribed low-THC cannabis when diagnosed with conditions such as epilepsy, seizure disorders, end-stage cancer, multiple sclerosis, terminal neurological disorders, autism, and ALS. Last year, the program was expanded to include patients with cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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A cannabis-certified physician can determine if THC cannabis is suitable for medical use in a patient and issue a prescription for medical marijuana through the Compassionate Use Program. For a list of board-certified physicians in the state, see the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas.

There are three medical marijuana dispensaries in Texas: goodblend Texas, Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation, and Fluent.

To be eligible for a dispensing license, an individual, company, or organization must complete and submit the CUP-101 form online to the DPS website. Thereafter, the DPS Regulatory Services Division will email an invoice for an application fee of $7,356 within five business days. Those who have previously applied will be waived the fee.

Within these five business days, applicants will receive an email with instructions on how to register securely and provide additional documentation for the application.

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The deadline for submitting a license application form is April 28 at 5:00 p.m.

The DPS will issue only enough licenses “to ensure adequate nationwide access to and availability of low-THC cannabis” for patients in the hardship registry, officials with the department said in a news release.

The announcement, which will detail application acceptance and approval processes, will come after the Texas legislative session concludes, the department said.

It’s a good thing to license more dispensaries in Texas, said Gene Tallman, president of goodblend Texas.

“Medical marijuana awareness in Texas is our number one concern, so opening more dispensaries in the state will help bring that awareness to more patients,” Tallman said.

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Of the estimated 5 million Texans eligible for the Compassionate Use Program, about 45,000 use it, Tallman said. Oftentimes, awareness, education, and accessibility are the factors that keep more people from using medical marijuana.

Tallman said expanding these access points, particularly in more rural areas of Texas, will allow more residents to learn about and take advantage of the program, as well as introduce a greater variety of products for patients to choose from.

“It’s all about the patients, and it’s great to be getting more approvals,” Tallman said.

Medical marijuana advocates in Texas have worked to expand the industry in the Lone Star State, not only by making products more accessible, but also by working to increase the legal dosage of THC.

Texas limits the percentage of THC in medical marijuana products to 1 percent, so patients often have to ingest larger amounts of the sugar, tapioca, and other by-products that companies build into the low-dose products to avoid exceeding that limit.

Texas law limits the weight of THC in products, but does not limit how much a doctor can prescribe or how much a patient can consume.

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