Texas Cannabis Dispensary Application process opened by DPS

Texas Medical Cannabis Dispensary Application

Introduction:

The Texas Department of Public Safety is about to open the application process to hopefully add more medical cannabis dispensaries.  This is earth-shattering news for Texas cannabis entrepreneurs as only 3 dispensaries have been licensed in the past 3 years.  To open an MCD in Texas, applicants must meet all requirements and apply with DPS in person or by mail.  The application process under the new compassionate use program will end on April 28th, 2023.

What do I need to know?

At this time it is unclear how many licenses may be approved and legislature could still come later this year that could alter the number of medical cannabis dispensaries in Texas.  The past law in 2015 was very restrictive for the use of cannabis-related substances for medical purposes in terms of the conditions it could treat and how much THC was allowed.  The current three dispensaries are all located in Central Texas located 100 miles from San Antonio with not nearly enough supply to meet the growing demand.

Wayne Mueller, the chief of DPS’ regulatory services division, said at a December DPS Commission meeting that the agency would open the application process this month. But he said a decision on the timing for adding licenses would not be made until June or July. “This will help us gauge what the actual interest is,” Mueller said.

Is this move by the DPS Premature?

Nico Richardson, the acting CEO of Compassionate Cultivation, one of the three companies licensed in Texas believes that the move by DPS is premature.

Richardson said Florida and New York have a higher number of patients than Texas in a similar program. He also said that adding new licenses wouldn’t be helpful because licensed producers can only store the product in the facility where it is manufactured.

“So if I want to serve a patient in El Paso, and my facility is in Austin, I have to send a driver to El Paso to deliver the product or give it to a patient at a pickup location in El Paso,” Richardson said. “And whatever is not picked up has to be driven back… as soon as humanly possible.”

Interest in Medical Cannabis is spiking in Texas:

Since the program started in 2015, interest has grown. At first, physicians could only prescribe to patients who suffered from uncontrollable epileptic seizures. But by the end of 2018 over 600 patients and 50 doctors were enrolled per DPS data.  The law passed in 2019 allowed thousands more people to benefit from the program who suffer from terminal cancer, autism, and multiple sclerosis to.

According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, 37 states and the District of Columbia, have laws permitting marijuana for medical use. And last summer, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller announced he was in favor of legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes.

Miller, who won re-election in November over Democratic challenger Susan Hays, is the highest-ranking Texas Republican to endorse fully legalizing medical marijuana.

 

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