According to a press release issued by the Texas DPS, the department is now accepting applications for the possibility of adding more medical marijuana dispensaries. The application window, which opened on Monday, is expected to close on April 28, 2023.
The release stated that the number of licenses that would be approved would be decided in the future. However, it’s doubtful that the agency will set a limit before the summer since the legislature might pass legislation that could allow for more permitted dispensaries.
Texas legalized medical cannabis in 2015. The diseases and conditions it covered as well as the amount of THC that was permitted, however, were very limited by the law. A few years later, the legislature expanded the list of ailments that could be treated through the Compassionate Use system. Even so, some activists think the program allows few conditions, and they’re optimistic the legislature will allow for expansion this year.
Texas currently has only three licensed dispensaries, all of which are in Central Texas. With so few dispensaries offering cannabidiol with low THC levels, some activists believe the supply is insufficient to meet demand.
Nico Richardson, the interim CEO of one of the licensed dispensaries, Compassionate Cultivation, thinks the DPS’s action is unwarranted. According to him, New York and Florida have more patients in a comparable program than Texas. Additionally, he claims that issuing more licenses would be counterproductive because licensed producers are only allowed to keep the product in the manufacturing facility.
The patients’ base for cannabis’ medical use has increased since legal use debuted in 2015. At first, only patients with uncontrollable epileptic seizures were eligible for prescriptions. However, a law passed by the legislature in 2019 allowed more people to gain access to the program, making it possible for people with multiple sclerosis, autism and terminal cancer to obtain prescriptions.
One of the causes for fewer patients in Texas is the cap on the ailments that qualify for the Compassionate Use Program. The legislature can enact laws to broaden the range of physical conditions that the program can treat.
Medical cannabis use has grown in popularity in recent years, with 37 states legalizing its use in the United States.
Sid Miller, the Texas agriculture commissioner, also declared his support for the legalization of medical cannabis last summer. Miller is one of the top Republican leaders in Texas to advocate for the full legalization of medical cannabis.
As the state loosens its strict controls and more players enter the medical cannabis industry, there is a likelihood that the demand for alternative funders such as REZYFi Inc. will grow, given the lack of action in passing federal marijuana banking laws.
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