The First Medical Cannabis Dispensaries in Texas Open Just Outside of Austin
Companies are only allowed to sell cannabis in the form of an oil that is low in THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana.
In the opening months of 2018, Texas welcomed a brand new industry. The state’s first medical cannabis dispensaries, from producers Knox Medical and Compassionate Cultivation respectively, opened for business in separate towns just outside of Austin.
Knox Medical is based in Florida, where it began distributing cannabis for medicinal purposes in December of 2016. Just over a year later, it became the first company (of three that have been officially licensed) to start selling cannabis products in Texas out of a Schulenburg dispensary. It was quickly followed by Compassionate Cultivation (based in Manchaca).
“It was something of a milestone for us as a company … that we were able to be the first folks to dispense cannabis, the first open dispensary as it were, back on February 1st,” said Scott Klenet, a spokesperson for Knox Medical.
The Texas Compassionate Use Act, which greenlit the production and sale of cannabis products for the first time in the state, is a narrowly-tailored law that puts a number of limitations on licensed growers.
Companies are only allowed to sell cannabis in the form of an oil that is low in THC (the psychoactive component of marijuana). Additionally, the only Texans who can get a prescription are those who suffer from intractable epilepsy.
According to the law: “a physician … may prescribe low-THC cannabis to alleviate a patient’s seizures if … the physician certifies to the department that the patient is diagnosed with intractable epilepsy (and) the physician has provided two or more different treatments approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration and the provided treatments have not alleviated the patient’s seizures.”
Other regulations further narrow the pool of potential clients.
“Per law, we’re required to be vertically integrated with one retail location,” said Morris Denton, the CEO of Compassionate Cultivation. “What that means is that we have to do everything from seed to sale under one roof.”
Because of this, Knox Medical and Compassionate Cultivation have worked hard on developing their delivery systems in order to become statewide companies.
Notwithstanding the regulatory obstacles put in place by the state, Denton believes there is room for medical cannabis to do good in Texas.
“The benefits of our medicine for people with intractable epilepsy range from a reduction in seizures … to increased recovery time,” Denton said. “It basically helps people engage in a more positive lifestyle than perhaps one that they would have otherwise.”