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marijuana policy reform 400

"Texas' New Marijuana Legalization Bills"

In the past, marijuana legalization has not been a high priority in the great state of Texas. There have been five bills presented on the path to legalization, most of them centered on medical marijuana legalization and decriminalization for possession of small amounts of marijuana. In other words, Texas has been on the right track but moving kind of slowly toward the legalization of cannabis. Even the medical use program is extremely limited, applying only to licensed patients with intractable epilepsy and three Texas medical dispensaries. What is legal in Texas is cannabidiol oil (CBD oil) derived from industrial hemp, a chemical compound pressed from the cannabis plant with low THC content that it does not get you “high.” The state government earlier this year confiscated CBD oil from a few Austing pharmacies, but had to return it due it having a -THC level of .3% or less as required by federal law.

What is the Texas Compassionate Use Program?

The Texas Compassionate Use Program (CUP) approved through SB339 has been in effect since June of 2015, but only applies to patients with intractable epilepsy, and changes have been proposed but not yet approved for the bill for 2017. Under CUP, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is in charge of all things medical marijuana-related, and that means cultivation, processing, and dispensing organizations for low-THC cannabis strains. DPS handles all licensing and registration issues, designs the program from the ground up, and intends to prevent more than one doctor from prescribing cannabis for one patient. Owners of medical dispensaries in Texas and medical cannabis patients must be 18 or older, and there will only be three (that’s right, I said three for the whole state of Texas) dispensary licenses granted to dispensaries. The state begins accepting applications in June of 2017. No recreational marijuana dispensaries are open in Texas, and the application fee for medical license was originally slated at $6,000 with a biennial renewal fee of $6,000 and a application registration fee of $150. In Texas, counties and municipalities cannot reject the cultivation, production, dispensing, or possession of low-THC cannabis, either. Medical Cannabis CBD oil is legal under Texas law as long as it does not contain more than .5% THC; patients are not allowed to smoke cannabis or cannabis products under the law.

Texas’ New Legalization Bills

A 2015 poll conducted when medical cannabis was legalized in Texas indicated that 68% of Texans support decriminalization, and less than 20% of Texans still support prohibition. That means that 80% support legalization, in case you need some help with the math. Several politicians in Texas support marijuana legalization and decriminalization, including State Rep. Jason Isaac of Dripping Springs and State Rep. Joe Moody of El Paso. Among the bills that have been presented are House Bill 58 to create a special court for first-time marijuana offenders in order to conserve law enforcement and corrections constraints; House Bill 82 which replaces penalties for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana with a fine (maximum $250) and prevents jail time and arrest in many cases; House Bill 82, which changes possession of one ounce or less of marijuana from a Class B to a Class C misdemeanor; Senate Joint Resolution 17, which would allow Texas citizens to vote on statewide marijuana legalization; Senate Joint Resolution 18 which would legalize medical marijuana for patient use when recommended by a healthcare provider; and Senate Bill 170, which would change possession of one ounce or less of marijuana to a civil offense instead of a criminal offense. José Rodríguez is the author of both Joint Resolutions and SB 170, and is a staunch supporter of marijuana legalization.

How Much Will It Cost to License a Dispensary in Texas?

Following the approval of SB339, the DPS decided to change the licensing fee and registration amounts. The original license application fee is now $488,000, the licensing renewal fee is $318,000, and the employee/manager/director registration fee is $500. So, the total to open the dispensary is $488,500, with a renewal fee of $318,000. That’s a quite a jump up from the original $12,150, but it’s better than the originally proposed $2,280,000. I don’t know how they came up with these numbers, but they are literally astronomical. On the other hand, it isn’t cheap to start a dispensary up in any state, so I guess it’s better to know the monumental cost prior to getting yourself, your family members, or your friends involved in the industry.

When Will Texas Legalize Marijuana?

Texas, you’re on your way to marijuana legalization, and you’re on your way to helping patients in your community get the help and therapies they need to combat issues like PTSD, cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and Crohn’s disease, among many, many others. Stay informed on the issues by following the Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy site and the Marijuana Policy Project. Let’s get this done, Texas!


About Green Lotus Hemp

Green Lotus Hemp
600 17th Street Suite 2800
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: 888-811-HEMP (4367)
(Not a Retail Store)