More than two years after passing legislation legalizing some cannabis treatment, Texas has its first cannabis patient. An unnamed 6-year-old girl became the first Texan to receive cannabis oil as a treatment for her severe epilepsy.
Texas law allows the use of CBD cannabis products for patients with intractable epilepsy. Smoking cannabis is excluded from the law's definition of medical use.
Texas Compassionate Use Act: History In Slow Motion
Texas passed the legislation legalizing cannabis treatment back in June 2015. The Texas Compassionate Use Act has been widely criticized for being overly restrictive.
Texas allows only low-THC CBD products, a non-psychoactive cannabinol (an active component in cannabis). CBD extracts in Texas must contain less than 0.5% THC content and at least 10% CBD concentration.
Cannabis advocates say that these restrictions prevent Texans from having access to effective cannabis treatment. And rightly so! Texas has placed onerous restrictions on every aspect of cannabis - what products are allowed, who can dispense them, who can buy them, and where they can buy them.
The Texas law dragged its feet from the start, allowing the government more than 2 years to establish procedures and complete permitting for 3 dispensaries across the state. That deadline came and went, but by the end of 2017, the enormous state had licensed three whole dispensaries.
The Dispensary That Went First - Knox Medical
The dispensary that made the first legal sale in Texas is Knox Medical, a Florida-based company that bought some farmland in the small town of Schulenberg to house its operation. The company successfully jumped through the regulatory hoops to become the second licensed dispensary in the state.
Over the weekend Knox Medical became the first dispensary in the state to deliver its medicine to a patient.
Schulenberg is a small town of 3000, previously known best for its annual polka festival. The rural town is also equidistant from Austin, Houston, and San Antonio - three of the state's urban centers. That gives Knox access to a fairly large part of the population from its sleepy HQ.
I Guess It's A Start?
The strangest part of all of this is that federal law already permits industrial hemp products containing less than 0.3% THC. Many of those hemp products also contain high CBD levels and are still OK under federal law. It seems like patients could jump through all the rigmarole of this state law for the privilege of access to products sold at the grocery checkout line in most other states.
45 other states have already legalized the medical use of CBD. Texas has very slowly become #46. Medical recognition by state agencies of cannabis as a valid treatment is definitely a step in the right direction, but it seems Texas will need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.