Last September, a farm near Schulenburg, Texas, a quiet, conservative town of fewer than 3,000 people, became a medical-marijuana dispensary. Knox Medical, based in Florida, owns the farm and is one of the three newly licensed cannabis outfits in Texas to start selling cannabidiol, or CBD, a substance derived from low-THC marijuana. When deliveries start going out to patients this month, Schulenburg, home to distinctively painted churches and the Texas Polka Music Museum, will become one of the first legal outposts for medical marijuana in Texas.
It’s not an identity residents of the area are rushing to embrace. Town officials are quick to point out that the site of the greenhouses and the future dispensary is technically outside of city limits. And Kristopher Emola, the cultivation manager for Knox Medical, has already learned not to volunteer that he grows pot when talking to people in Schulenburg. “It’s one of those things that has been so stigmatized for so long,” Emola says, “that it’s natural to question it initially.” But if small towns like Schulenburg can get past the stigma, they may just be the perfect entry points for a booming marijuana business in a largely conservative state. “If it helps people and it doesn’t hurt anything,” asks Fayette County Judge Ed Janecka, “why not do it?”
It is unclear whether marijuana will ever become a significant part of the state’s economy. Despite a push across the country to legalize both recreational and medical marijuana (30 states and the