Last night, cannabis law changed for millions of Americans as voters in five states approved ballot measures to legalize marijuana. New Jersey, Arizona and Montana legalized adult-use marijuana, with South Dakota passing both recreational and medical marijuana measures. Mississippi passed its own landmark medical marijuana measure for 22 qualifying conditions.
Now, as many as one in three Americans live in a state where marijuana is legal. So what does this mean for Texas and its medical marijuana law? Although limited, Texas is one of over half of US states that have a medical marijuana program. While no medical cannabis measures were on the ballot in Texas, the Lone Star State is just months away from its upcoming legislative session in January.
In this guide, we will cover the current medical marijuana law in Texas, common questions Texans have about the program and what’s next for medical marijuana law in Texas.
What is the Compassionate Use Program?
In 2015, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 339, known as the Texas Compassionate Use Act. The Compassionate Use Act legalized low-THC cannabis as a prescription treatment for intractable epilepsy. This landmark legislation sparked the beginning of the medical cannabis program in Texas. Then in 2019, the program expanded to include over 100 more conditions.
The Compassionate Use Program, which is overseen by the Department of Public Safety, allows for medical cannabis under 0.5% THC to be distributed by licensed medical marijuana companies. Of the three licensed companies in the state, Compassionate Cultivation is the only one that is Texas-owned-and-operated. Additionally, cannabis-based medicine must not be ignitable.
The Compassionate Use Program also outlines requirements for patients. To qualify for medical marijuana, patients must:
- Be a Texas resident
- Have an approved condition
- Receive a prescription from a registered doctor
Under the current Texas medical marijuana law, the approved conditions for medical cannabis include:
- Epilepsy and other seizure disorders
- Terminal cancer
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- And over 100 more conditions
Click below to see a full list of qualifying conditions in Texas.
Is recreational marijuana legal in Texas?
No, recreational cannabis is not legal in the state of Texas. As it stands, unregistered and unregulated possession, use and distribution of cannabis byproducts are illegal in Texas. However, recent legislation has essentially decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis, and cannabis-related arrests have decreased from 2018 to 2019.
Does my out-of-state medical marijuana card work in Texas?
No, out-of-state medical cards are not valid in Texas. Instead, medical cannabis patients must get a prescription from a registered doctor.
When will the medical marijuana laws change in Texas?
Since Texas doesn’t have ballot initiatives or voter referendums, the only way to add, expand or change laws is through the state legislature. Though we don’t know when or how much the medical marijuana laws will change in Texas, there is a chance for the Compassionate Use Program to expand in the next legislative session starting January 2021.
While Compassionate Cultivation will be at the Capitol to educate Texas lawmakers on medical cannabis and advocate for patients during the session, we could use your help.