Texas’ “Medical Marijuana” is not marijuana
The cannabis industry is full of paradoxes. One of the biggest lives in Texas. The paradox is this: In order to legally purchase non-intoxicating CBD oil in the state of Texas you have to be suffering from intractable epileptic seizures and have a prescription from a state-certified physician. Furthermore, it must be purchased from a dispensary run by one of only three licensed producers in the state. If you don’t have epilepsy, you don’t have a prescription, and you bought your CBD oil at an unlicensed shop, then, in the eyes of the law, you might as well be a dope user. Technically, the penalty for possession of CBD oil in Texas is the same as that for marijuana — a half a year in jail and a $2,000 fine — not to mention legal fees.
That probably sounds screwed up enough, but that’s just one half of the paradox. The other half is that anyone in Texas can easily obtain hemp CBD oil at any number of CBD boutiques throughout the state, especially in the larger cities such as Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, and El Paso. And they can do this without being an epilepsy patient and without a prescription. How is this possible? Why isn’t the state arresting CBD merchants and their customers on a daily basis?
Another paradox is that the state’s so-called low-THC medical marijuana program doesn’t technically allow the cultivation or sale of marijuana products. Seriously. Ok, yes, while the national limit on THC in hemp CBD oil is 0.3 percent and the Texas medical cannabis law specifies 0.5 percent, those measly two-tenths of one percent of extra THC doesn’t really qualify the product as marijuana — at least in most people’s minds. It still wouldn’t get a fly high.
Unlicensed CBD oil can be iffy – do your homework
There is one important difference between the CBD oil prescribed to epilepsy patients and the CBD oil you can pull off the rack of your local smoke shop or purchase online — that is the safety and purity of the product.
While licensed producers must put their products through rigorous laboratory examination, the unlicensed products are not obligated to test their products. They may contain contaminants such as heavy metals, molds, pesticides, and other toxins. Furthermore, there’s no guarantee that these products contain the levels of CBD claimed by the manufacturers.
So, once again, why isn’t the department of health in Texas clamping down on these products if they have such a poor safety record? There are a couple of reasons.
For one thing, the U.S. federal government recently legalized hemp and the CBD oils derived therefrom. This ties at least one hand behind officials backs by making it near impossible to keep up with the influx of CBD products being produced in state’s where it’s legal.
Secondly, the manpower and financial resources required to enforce the rules across the board would be staggering. You can’t raid 50 shops and leave the other 950 (hypothetical numbers) to operate with impunity.
Resolving the Texas CBD Paradox
There are some efforts underway to resolve these paradoxes.
For one thing, lawmakers are pushing to legalize the cultivation of hemp in the state. But this raises the question, why should anyone want to get a license to grow the so-called low-THC “medicinal marijuana” when they can grow hemp with near the same levels of THC as the kind farmers can grow, and sell it to everyone instead of just epilepsy patients? So, wouldn’t that basically put the licensed producers out of business?
To try to solve for that lawmakers are also looking into expanding the list of medical conditions that allows patients to purchase the lab-tested species of CBD oil.
One such effort is being spearheaded by State Rep. Stephanie Klick who authored the original Compassionate Use Act and shepherded the bill through the legislature back in 2015. Klick is now proposing the state should allow patients with multiple sclerosis, spasticity, all forms of epilepsy including non-intractable cases, and patients under palliative care to use CBD oil. Klick claims that these are the conditions which medical experts would like to see added.
These solutions are far from perfect. The ideal resolve to the paradoxes once and for all time would be to regulate CBD oil but make it available to all residents. But that would mean a bunch of politicians would have to admit that they’ve been wrong about CBD oil all along.