Cannabis Compliance and Regulation

Update: The 86th Legislative Session has advanced a marijuana bill expanding the list of medical conditions that can be treated legally by cannabis in this state to all forms of epilepsy, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), terminal cancer, autism and incurable neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, the bill eliminates the requirement of approval from two licensed neurologists, rather than one.

The 84th Texas legislative session was historic in the movement to improve marijuana laws in Texas. All told, there were five bills that would have reduced penalties for possession of marijuana, one of which would have completely legalized access for adults. In addition, there were four bills to provide legal access to medical marijuana. A very limited medical marijuana bill — now the Compassionate Use Program Act — was signed into law and will be discussed below.

What is the Compassionate Use Program Act?

Intends to allow qualified patients access to low-THC cannabis

What is Low-THC Cannabis?

“Low-THC cannabis” means the plant Cannabis sativa L., and any part of that plant or any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, preparation, resin, or oil of that plant that contains:

(A) not more than 0.5 percent by weight of tetrahydrocannabinols (THC); and
(B) not less than 10 percent by weight of cannabidiol (CBD).

Who is a qualified patient?

A qualified patient: suffers from intractable epilepsy; is a permanent resident of Texas: a qualified physician determines the risk of the medical use of low-THC cannabis by a patient is reasonable in light of the potential benefit for the patient; and a second qualified physician has concurred with the determination.

Will patients under 18 be able to participate?


Who may prescribe marijuana to qualified patients?

Qualified doctors may prescribe marijuana to qualified patients.  A qualified doctor is a doctor who has joined a specific physician registry, where information such as dosage recommendations, patient name and d.o.b., means of administration, total amount of cannabis required to fill patients prescriptions, number of refills, and an order issuing a licensed, regulated business to distribute the cannabis are available.

Who may sell low-THC cannabis?

A licensed regulated business, otherwise known as a dispensing organization authorized, by the department of public safety, to cultivate, process, and distribute low-THC cannabis.

The holder of a dispensing organization license may perform any one or all of the regulated functions: cultivate, process or dispense.

As dispensing organizations become licensed, a list will be posted on Compassionate Use Program Licensing & Registration.

Where can I license to become a dispensing organization be obtained?

Through the Department of Public Safety, who has until September of 2017 to issue at least three licenses to dispensing organizations.  The number of licenses that may be issued are unlimited.

Is there a price limit for the cost of cannabis?

The price shall be set by each individual dispensing organization.

What is the cost to submit an application to become a dispensing organization?

The application to submit a license is $6,000.

A two-year license is $6,000.

What type of regulations apply to a dispensing organization?

Dispensing organizations will be required to have minimum security measures in place, maintain records and operational standards, and be subject to periodic inspections by the department. Low-THC cannabis must be tracked though an inventory control system and must be tested and packaged according to state standards.

The inventory control system is provided by the dispensing organization, and subject to state inspection.

The following are tentative dates for DPS’ program development:

January – May 2016

DPS will competitively solicit Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) vendors for the development and implementation of a technology solution for the administration of the Compassionate Use Program. This webpage will be updated when the DIR pricing request is solicited.

June 2016

Vendor contract to be awarded.

July 2016
Development begins for the Compassionate Use Registry, an online database. Dispensing organizations will be able to submit licensing applications after completion of the online system.

June 2017

DPS will license first dispensing organization.

Is individual registration required to work at a dispensary.

Yes.  Directors, managers, and employees must register and must be at least 18 years old, submit a full set of fingerprints, and pass a criminal background check.  Registration last two years from the day issued.

Who may pick up the order?

The patient or the patient’s legal caregiver.

Are there restrictions on where a qualified patient may possess or consume cannabis?


Will patients have to register with the state or pay a fee?

No. The law does not require patients to register or pay a fee. Patient information will be retained in the Compassionate Use Registry. A qualified physician will enter a patient’s name, date of birth, low-THC dosage prescribed and means of administration into the Compassionate Use Registry.

Will patients be able to grow their own cannabis?

No. Only licensed dispensers will be able grow cannabis and only for use in the production of low-THC cannabis. Patients are required to purchase low-THC cannabis products from a licensed dispensing organization.

Can I smoke the low-THC cannabis?

No. Texas Occupations Code §169.001 specifically prohibits ingesting low-THC by smoking.

Disclaimer: This information is for informative purposes and does not establish a legal relationship. Contact us now to learn more.

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