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Medical marijuana is due to go on sale in Texas by the beginning of 2018, but this for sure is no Green Rush. Texas’ Compassionate Use Act, passed in 2015, will only allow CBD formulations to be sold exclusively to patients with intractable epilepsy. Cannabis flower is prohibited under the program, and products may contain no more than .5 percent THC. Meanwhile, only three companies are licensed to grow and sell cannabis (from one vertically-integrated facility each) to serve an estimated 150,000 epilepsy patients throughout the state.
While it’s exciting medical marijuana will be legally grown at all in such a conservative state, says Heather Fazio, Texas political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, she fears the program may not be viable. “It’s unreasonably restrictive,” she says. “Flaws in the program lead us to be concerned that it won’t be fully operational.”
With so few storefronts (two of which are based in the Austin area), each dispensary/cultivation facility could hypothetically need to service tens of thousands of patients. But for now the statewide patient base is still relatively small. “It’s certainly an issue we’ve looked at,” says Morris Denton, CEO of Compassionate Cultivation, one of Texas’s three licensed medical marijuana companies, based just outside Austin. “We started growing on Halloween and it will take 100 days before the extraction process, so we don’t know what our patient ramp will look like until early 2018,” he says. “We’re assuming it will be a conservative ramp, but it’s difficult to