The Texas Tribune reported on Monday that the House of Representatives approved a bill that would decriminalize possession of cannabis. Rep. Joseph Moody (D), the chief sponsor of the bill, still had to amend it in order to get the bill approved. His original version had a lower fine of $250 and it would have dropped down low-level possession to a civil infraction instead of a class C misdemeanor.
Still, the paper reported that the chances of the bill turning into law would be slim. “After the House grants final approval for the bill — usually just a formality — it will head to the Senate, where presiding officer Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has expressed opposition to the idea of loosening marijuana possession penalties.” The resistance is attributed to the fear that each move to loosen cannabis laws is another step towards full legalization.
If Texas manages to pass the law, it would become the 25th state to decriminalize cannabis. “Texans have suffered under failing marijuana policies for far too long,” Heather Fazio, director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, said. “Rep. Moody’s bill will help preserve valuable public safety resources and keep a marijuana charge from derailing someone’s life. Like a majority of Texas voters, Democratic and Republican lawmakers agree that marijuana laws need to change.”
Medical marijuana is legal in the state but on a very restrictive level. There is only one approved condition, which is intractable epilepsy. Several pieces of legislation have been filed in order to expand the condition list.
Hemp Farming Legalized
Just last week, The Texas House approved a bill that would allow farmers in the state to legally grow industrial hemp. House Bill 1325 from state Rep. Tracy King, D-Batesville, would also legalize hemp and hemp-derived extracts like CBD oil as long as they contain no more than 0.3% THC. “HB 1325 is right-to-farm legislation that will allow Texas farmers the opportunity to cultivate a drought-resistant cash crop — that being hemp,” King told other House members.
The bill has now headed to the Senate for approval. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is a strong supporter of industrial hemp production as a new market opportunity for Texas farmers to expand their operations and grow alternative crops. Once authorized by the Legislature, TDA said it will create rules regarding licensing, production, testing, seed certification and other oversight as necessary.
“There’s no good reason for Texas farmers and ranchers not to have hemp as a crop option,” said Gene Hall, a spokesman for the Texas Farm Bureau. “I suspect a lot of farmers will choose this option once it’s available. It’s a drought-tolerant crop and can be grown anywhere where cropping is prevalent right now.”
History is being made in the Lone Star State as Texas prepares to open its first medical marijuana dispensaries. The state of Texas saw Compassionate Cultivation as one of two companies to set the tone for the state when it comes to the current market for cannabis and the treatment of epilepsy. The dispensary is located in the liberal bastion of Austin Texas with plans to open its doors in January.
Dr. Karen Keough, a board-certified child neurologist, who specializes in the treating of intractable epilepsy at child Neurology Consultants of Austin is a key team member. ““I know many of my patients are incredibly excited about this. For them, it’s a new and promising opportunity to manage this devastating neurological disorder when more traditional options just aren’t working,” said Dr. Keough. Like every new state that decides to intertwine into the culture and business of cannabis, don’t expect a line of epilepsy patients at Compassionate Cultivates front door January of 2018 ready to walk in and to buy some high-quality CBD oil.
Estimated Size Of Texas Cannabis Market
Matt Karnes of Green Wave Advisors estimates that the addressable market in the state is 1.9 million patients. Texas will only allow for patients with epilepsy to be treated at this time, reducing that patient count to approximately 185,000. Karnes believes the market could see $9 million for 2018 and then if the program restrictions are eased, it could grow to $162 million in 2020. He also thinks that as the state grapples with hurricane expenses from this past year, it may begin to quickly consider legalizing adult-use marijuana in order to reap the tax revenues.
Austin is a state of structure and proper percentages, so when it comes to growth there must be a few guidelines to follow in order for a patient receive this miracle medicine. First, they must be a current resident of Texas and have a written prescription from a licensed doctor that treats epilepsy and that prescription must be entered into the computer system of Compassionate Cultivations as active. Lastly, the patient must be resistance to two of the current drugs on the market that are already expected and recommended to treat epilepsy.
The Limitations Of Texas’ Program
So, there are some limitations and restrictions that come with current patients being treated for epilepsy, but under this new Texas Compassionate Act, Austin is providing for the state a great start. At least some families will be able to stay in state to receive treatment instead of traveling to a nearby state to receive treatment. And situations like the one of 12-year-old Alexis Bortell whose family filed a lawsuit against the federal government this month will stay out the headlines.
Compassionate Cultivation teamed up with well-known cannabis management consultant group MJardin to operate its grow. The company manages 30 licensed facilities in 13 states and two countries. MJardin has produced over 150,000 pounds of cannabis product since its inception in 2014, making it the largest cultivator of legal cannabis in the world. “MJardin and the Compassionate Cultivation team have worked seamlessly throughout the process thus far,” says MJardin Chairman and CEO Rishi Gautam. “And the fact that we are about to achieve an unprecedented five-month stand up from provisional license to final license is a testament to the level of expertise this team will bring to the medical cannabis community of Texas.”
In addition to Compassionate Cultivation, Knox Medical is slated to open its doors in small hill country town of Schulenberg, Texas. It is owned by Jose Hidalgo, who also has licensed operations in Florida and Peurto Rico. Knox will not operate a storefront and instead will deliver by courier to registered patients. The Florida stores have been described as looking like Apple stores with its clean, sleek minimal style. While the group is hoping for a December opening, it’s possible that it won’t be able to begin filling prescriptions until January.
Limited Amount Of Texas Doctors For The Program
It seemed like Texas’ tightly restricted medical marijuana wasn’t going to get off the ground. According to Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, “only 411 doctors in the state have the necessary qualifications to register for the program. This amounts to approximately 0.54% of the licensed physicians in Texas. Far fewer may decide to register in light of the personal and professional risk involved.”
With that being said and the facts too bold to ignore, watch out for the state of Texas and the city of Austin when it comes to using some of the world’s most high-quality cannabis as a medicine to treat and prevent epilepsy. The state of Texas will now be responsible for every patient that the standards and the business ethics of this calibration will always be held to the highest.
My Personal Thoughts
You know in today’s day and age.We need examples. We need people that dream. We need people that plan and we need people that execute. And I must say, Austin Texas has officially stamped itself as one of those examples within the culture of cannabis with the partnership of Compassionate Cultivation and MJardin. This tandem has now produced a strong platform, but uniquely this tandem isn’t all about getting patients elevated. It’s all about producing some of the world’s most high-quality CBD. You know that beautiful extract of oil that is known to prevent the sudden shock of epilepsy. And now with the state’s approval, these two companies are set and ready to produce some of the world’s most high-quality cannabis in order to do so.
Think about this for a minute, Compassionate Cultivation’s CEO Morris Denton is a homegrown businessman of 30 years and a few of his partners have now teamed up with one of the world’s largest cultivators and processors of cannabis. And with a full license and local laws on their side, these two companies are able to start planting hundreds of seeds in their own backyard, with no duplication unless you have their approval.
I would let you know how much to expect from each quarterly harvest and what strains to expect to hit the market first and most often, but all this information is still under wraps. And personally I don’t blame them, because small roots will always rise to be respected in the culture of cannabis, because believe it or not this direction towards the production of CBD oil wasn’t a choice for Morris and his partners, yes it was pondered on by them for years, but truthfully it was the best direction for the state according to its planners.
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