medical marijuana in Texas

Medical Marijuana in Texas 2021: What Changes With The Expansion Law? - December 16, 2021

With the approval of the Medical Marijuana Expansion Legislation, all eyes are on the state of Texas.

The state was renowned to have one of the most restrictive medical marijuana programs compared to other states in the US. But on September 1st, 2021, the restrictions have eased a little with Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, signing the Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill.

The Bill paved the way for a number of changes in the already established Texas Compassionate Use Program (T.CUP). From approving more medical conditions for medical cannabis use to allowing higher THC concentration products, let’s walk through the changes you can expect for using medical marijuana in Texas 2021.

Texas Medical Marijuana Program A Quick Overview

The Texas Medical Marijuana Program is very different from the programs established by other states. For starters, there is no concept of a ‘medical marijuana card’ or ‘recommendation’ in Texas. The state does not require you to carry a physical document to a dispensary to purchase cannabis.

Instead, the program has established an online monitoring system called the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT). It is a system shared between physicians and dispensaries. Once a patient is deemed qualified, the physician enters a ‘prescription’ in CURT which then can be accessed by the dispensary.

Texas also allows low THC cannabis only for medical use by people suffering from particular medical conditions only.

Now, considering the progressive attitude donned by the neighboring states of Texas, moving forward with such restrictive measures didn’t seem right. This led to a series of Bills sent to the Senate for approval. While some were rejected, others were approved and made into a new law leaving Texas finally in line with other US states.

Changes in the Texas Compassionate Use Program

The Expansion Law, which was put in effect on September 1st, 2021, was a move to match the progressive laws of other states and also make cannabis a more accessible form of medicine for Texans.

Though a small step, the expansion of the Compassionate Use Act will greatly benefit the citizens of Texas. Let’s look at the important changes put into effect this year.

PTSD and Cancer Added to the List

When the Texas Compassionate Use Act was established back in 2015, the list of qualifying medical conditions for medical cannabis use was limited to just one condition- intractable epilepsy. This made the law very restrictive and cannabis a highly accessible form of medication.

Over the years, the list expanded, and today, it officially includes PTSD and cancer too. So, the updated list of qualifying medical conditions for a medical marijuana prescription in Texas is as follows:

  • Cancer
  • Intractable Epilepsy
  • Autism
  • ALS
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Spasticity
  • Incurable Neurological Disorders (Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s or Parkinson’s)
  • PTSD
  • Seizures

The bill submitted for approval specified PTSD for veterans and patients with terminal cancer only. However, this exclusivity faced some backlash from those who testified on the bill including veterans. Hence the approved bill allows medical cannabis use for cancer and PTSD patients of all stages.

Chronic pain was also initially included in the bill. But the Senate removed it and it was never re-added for approval later. But, the addition of two new medical conditions is a start for now. And it paves the way for new additions in the future.

Low THC Cannabis Percentage

Medical cannabis is allowed in Texas only if it is a low THC type. Since the T.CUP was approved, it was pretty clear that all MMJ patients could only use low THC products with less than 0.5% THC and at least 10% CBD.

But, here’s the thing -THC is just as therapeutic as CBD. Some debilitating conditions in the list do require a high amount of THC too. This is why the act is now expanded and the percentage of THC is doubled from 0.5% to 1%.

As per the Texas Department of Public Safety, low THC cannabis refers to-

…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 not more than 1.0 percent by weight of tetrahydrocannabinols.

Additionally the percentage of CBD should remain no less than 10%.

Considering the effectiveness of high THC cannabis, the Bill originally submitted a demand to increase the percentage from 0.5% to 5%. However, once the discussion in the Senate began, it was watered down to 1%.

As of today, all qualified medical cannabis patients in the state of Texas can buy and use low THC cannabis with no more than 1% THC and no less than 10% CBD. All patients must buy cannabis from a licensed dispensing authority only.

How Does the Expansion Law Benefit Texans?

It’s pretty clear that expanding the Compassionate Use Program offers benefits to the citizens. Though medical cannabis was legalized in Texas back in 2015, it wasn’t still accessible to a majority of patients seeking a health solution in the herb. Also, the accessible form of cannabis too wasn’t strong enough to benefit debilitating conditions.

But now, it is clear that Texas is moving forward towards a progressive attitude and becoming more welcome towards the medical potential of the herb. Each of the new additions is a baby step but in the forward direction. Along with providing stronger cannabis types, it is also more accessible to medical patients now.

In the future, Texans can expect new laws and changes in the CUP. Several bills were rejected or not commented upon this time in the Senate. This includes the reform to allow study of the therapeutic potential of psychedelics and decriminalization of possession of small amounts of the herb among other submissions.

So, if you are considering being a medical marijuana patient in Texas, now’s the best time. Apply for a consultation today and get approved on the same day. Your prescription will be entered in the CURT so you can visit a dispensary near you and get yours filled today.

Online Medical Card Team

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