A small victory for proponents of pot legalization, the Compassionate Use Act was signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in 2015 and took effect Sept. 1, 2017.
The state will allot at least three dispensary licenses. The first one went to Miami-based Knox Medical, which is opening their operation in the small town of Schulenburg in December. Two more companies, Compassionate Cultivation and Surterra Texas, are still waiting on reviews from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
In Schulenburg, marijuana plants are already growing.
"The plants look healthy," Knox Medical owner José Hidalgo told the Houston Chronicle. "They look great, and the cultivation is moving ahead, and we are expecting to harvest sometime in early December."
Still, Texas' regulations won't even be as lax as California's medical marijuana laws. The new law stipulates that only one type of medical marijuana will be available. Cannabidiol (or CBD) is a type of cannabis oil. It contains very low levels of THC (the component of marijuana that creates the "high" feeling). Furthermore, only patients with intractable (untreatable) epilepsy who hold prescriptions from a doctor can purchase it.
Additionally, there won't even be a storefront where people can purchase the oil. Instead, the dispensaries will act as a distribution center, shipping the oil directly to the doctors who prescribe it.
"For those out there who think this is a slippery slope, they have to understand that multiple neurologists need to be involved, and they both have to agree that this is a last resource," Hidalgo told the Chronicle. "It's not even just normal epilepsy, it's intractable epilepsy, which is really serious. The patients that are waiting for this, they really need this medicine."