Texas Makes Its First Legal Cannabis Harvest
Earlier last week, Texas’ first medical marijuana company, Compassionate Cultivation, announced its first harvested cannabis crop. The announcement was met with excitement from patients who require cannabis to treat serious conditions. It’s been three years since Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law, allowing certain patients to purchase the non-intoxicating strain of cannabis oil known as ‘Charlotte’s Web’.
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Farmers began growing in May of 2017 and the growing process is now in the extraction phase, meaning Compassionate Cultivation is one step closer to providing Texans with the medicine they need.
“It’s a historic day for us, for Texas, for Texans, for those people that have been long waiting for this medicine,” Compassionate Cultivation CEO Morris Denton told the Houston Press. “We’re dedicated to creating the highest quality, consistent medicine and to be transparent in how we operate our business and to run our business with integrity. We want to do nothing except make Texans proud,” he added.
Qualifying patients have been waiting for this moment for a long time, and it’s been a struggle to get to where Texas is today. Despite support for marijuana legalization being at an all-time high in the United States, Texas remains one of the least likely states to move towards a full medical marijuana program. Governor Abbott surprised patients when he announced his support on the issue back in 2015 but that doesn’t mean the lone star state is any closer to a medical marijuana program. The Governor has vowed to veto any and all further bills that he comes across to widen access to medical marijuana in Texas.
The current bill allows patients suffering from severe forms of epilepsy to access the CBD oil, Charlotte’s Web. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, around 150,000 Texans qualify for the medical marijuana program.
However, despite the fact that medicine is close to becoming available for the first time, it might not be that easy for qualifying patients to access it. The law only allows epilepsy patients to access medical marijuana if at least two pharmaceutical drugs have proved unsuccessful first. In addition to this, federal law hasn’t changed. The DEA’s Controlled Substances Act forbids medical professions from prescribing a Schedule 1 drug, which, unfortunately, cannabis remains scheduled as. Doctors are only allowed to recommend cannabis as an alternative therapy and even so, many may be wary of doing so.
The state legislature will gather again in 2019 when there will most likely be proposed amendments to the law to make it easier for patients to access the medicine they need. Until then, cannabis in Texas is on its way, if only in a very limited sense.