It came as a shock to Medical Marijuana Entrepreneurs and business aspirants, when they came to know that the Texas Department of Public Safety without any warning suspended the process of issuing permits for Marijuana Dispensaries.
According to the original plan, the window was supposed to be open from October 1 to November 1. On the Texas Department’s website it said, “The Department’s Compassionate Use Program is not accepting applications at this time.” One of the reasons why this decision was upsetting to entrepreneurs is that the department did not give any explanation or reason for this sudden decision. And another reason being that the window that was supposed to be open throughout the month of October but it closed just a week after being open.
A department official wrote in an email, “The department will continue to assess dispensing capacity requirements, along with the need for any additional licenses, as we work through recent legislative changes to the program.”
If you are living in Texas, then access to Medical Marijuana is fairly limited. In 2017, 43 businesses applied to the agency for a licence. Only 3 businesses (Compassionate Cultivation, Cansortium Texas, and Surterra Texas) out of the 43 got their applications approved.
This created grave concern for patients residing in Texas requiring Medical Marijuana for their health. Right now the patients pay a huge amount for medical marijuana and its products as these products are not covered by their insurance or medicare. The Executive Director of Texas NORML, Jax Finkel said that this move is upsetting as the approval application would have created a competition between businesses. Which ultimately would have benefitted the patients and they could have been able to afford medical marijuana. Texas NORML works towards decriminalizing the responsible use of marijuana by adults and patients. Jax said, “I find it concerning that a week into the application process it’s suspended with no notice and no clear communication with doctors, patients or the general public.”
Medical Marijuana Laws in Texas:
Texas has always had a bumpy relationship with marijuana and with the laws concerning it. But in June 2019, a House Bill 3703 signed by Governor George Abbott came into existence that made room for more conditions that qualified for the use of Medical Marijuana. Prior to the signing of this house bill only patients with intractable epilepsy were able to use cannabis. But now, patients suffering from Autism, Terminal cancer, ALS, certain seizure disorders, Parkinson’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis are allowed to use Medical Marijuana.
State Representative Republican Stephanie Klick, who spearheaded that legislation stated, “Hang tight for now”. She further added, “This is likely just a temporary delay until we know which of the incurable neurodegenerative conditions are appropriate to be included on the list.”
The Texas Department of State Health Services conducted a hearing, in September, that helped in deciding which incurable neurodegenerative disease could be qualified under the new house bill. The reason for this sudden move from the department could be because all of the neurodegenerative conditions have not been officially finalized. The final conclusion of all these conditions could take a while and until then the Department of Public Safety might have to stop issuing the licenses of new businesses.