2021 was a monumental year for Texas Original. With the help of our patient’s and advocates, we were able to expand the Compassionate Use Program in Texas, launch new products, witness first-hand the power of medical cannabis, expand prescription pick-up locations and break ground in Bastrop for our new facility. In 2022, TXOG will continue to fight and campaign for our patients and all Texans for increased access to medical marijuana. Read below about some of our accomplishments and highlights from 2021.
Texas Compassionate Use Program and the 87th Legislative Session
We started off the year of 2021 entering the 87th legislative session in Texas. Julia Patterson, a Texas A&M freshman and one of the youngest lobbyists in Texas, advocated for expansion of the Compassionate Use Program. Julia has epilepsy and experienced her first seizure in kindergarten. She was having around 200 seizures a day and tried almost every pharmaceutical. Julia was prescribed medical cannabis in February of 2018 and within two months she was completely seizure free. She graduated valedictorian of her high school class and was able to receive her driver’s license. Julia continues to advocate for people with disabilities and for the expansion of medical marijuana in Texas.
HB 1535 passed, expanding conditions under the Compassionate Use Act
HB 1535 expanded the Texas medical marijuana program, allowing people with all forms of cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to have access to medical cannabis while also raising the maximum level of THC from 0.5% to 1% by weight. The bill also allows for the establishment of institutional review boards to evaluate and approve proposed research programs to study the medical use of cannabis as treatment for certain patients. While this was a great change to the program, chronic pain and removal of the THC cap were cut from the bill, leaving millions of Texans without access to medical cannabis. We are continuing our fight for expansion of the Compassionate Use Program. We would not be where we are today without the help of advocates like Julia, our patients’ stories, testimonies and advocacy.
Texas’ first fast-acting medical marijuana gummies launch
On September 1st, 2021 we introduced the state’s first fast-acting medical marijuana gummies. Our gummies – as well as our other medical cannabis products – were developed under the guidance of our medical advisory board. The fast-acting gummies alleviate symptoms such as pain, muscle spasms, lack of appetite, anxiety, nausea, sleeping difficulties and others. The gummies also offer an alternative for patients seeking to relieve gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort by reducing oil intake. The strawberry-passion fruit flavored gummies are the first in the Texas market infused with medical cannabis through Vertosa’s nanoemulsion technology that allows for a quicker onset. The gummies are available in a 0:1 THC-only formulation and a 1:1 balanced formulation.
New Medical Cannabis Facility in Bastrop
After the expansion of the Compassionate Use Program in September of 2021, we decided that we also needed to do some expansion of our own to meet the demands of Texans that qualify for medical marijuana. At the beginning of 2021, we broke ground on our new medical cannabis production facility in Bastrop, Texas which will be about 91,000 square feet on 25 acres of land. Our next-generation facility will be home to cultivation, processing and retail operations. We expect to finish construction in the second quarter of 2022.
Patient’s Success Stories
In November of 2021, we celebrated Jacob Ortiz, a 7-year-old who achieved one year without seizures as a result of medical cannabis. Jacob was diagnosed with epilepsy at 3 years old. He experienced erratic seizure clusters, each lasting 20 minutes. The seizures required days of recovery and limited Jacob from participating in his favorite activities. Jacob tried several pharmaceuticals without improvement and continued enduring uncontrollable seizures. His parents learned that he qualified for medical cannabis under the state’s Compassionate Use Program. Jacob was prescribed our medicine at 5 years old and quickly saw results—without dangerous side effects—leading him to his latest milestone of one year free from seizures.
New Prescription Pick-Up Locations
Throughout the year we announced several new prescription pick-up locations around Texas as well as increased delivery frequency to all areas of the state. We are proud to be the only provider establishing a network of deliveries and pick-up locations that services the entire state from border to border. Through our robust network of pick-up locations and our expanding fleet of delivery drivers, we’re committed to bringing our high-quality medicine as close to our patients as possible.
Looking forward to 2022
We have come a long way since the start of the Compassionate Use Program in 2015. We are so thankful for our patients, their families and all Texans that have been supporting us through this journey. As said by our CEO Morris Denton at the beginning of 2021, “you all are our first and last priority.” This still rings true and always will. We are so excited for 2022 and can’t wait to share more about what is to come.