Texas, the state of big hats, big churches and big oil, has not historically been big on cannabis. In 2015, governor Greg Abbott signed the Texas Compassionate Use Act, the state’s first piece of legalization policy which only allows for cannabis with less than .5% THC for patients with intractable epilepsy. Three years later, the lone star state’s first dispensary is finally opening in Austin.
“We are thrilled to offer the highest quality medical cannabis products,” said Morris Denton, CEO of Compassionate Cultivation CEO, in a press release. “With plants grown and refined by our cultivation and engineering experts at our state-of-the-art facility.”
The state only started granting licenses to sell medical marijuana four months ago. Three businesses have gotten licenses so far. Compassionate Cultivation opened in Austin last week, making it the first in Texas history. The first medical marijuana patient in Texas, a six-year-old girl, had just recently received her prescription of low-grade CBD oil, albeit by mail.
When Abbott signed the Compassionate Use Act, it was more of a gesture at the door than an opening of the door. “I remain convinced that Texas should not legalize marijuana,” said Abbott at the time, “nor should Texas open the door for conventional marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes. As governor, I will not allow it.”
Texas’ medical marijuana laws will remain stringent for the foreseeable future. Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism (MAMMA) has been fighting to add autism to the list of qualifying medical marijuana conditions in the state. Additionally, there’s a number of other types of epilepsy, other than intractable epilepsy, which are said to be helped by CBD oil but were not included on the state’s Compassionate Use Act. Beto O’Rourke, a Democratic representative out of El Paso is running for senator on a platform of legalizing cannabis, though up against incumbent Ted Cruz, O’Rourke is considered a longshot in Texas.
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