Up until now, the cannabis market in Texas has been limited, to say the least. Its medical cannabis Compassionate Use Program has fewer enrolled patients and businesses than most other states, and their restrictions put them in the bottom 11 (out of 47 programs) for accessibility nationwide. But between a recent $25 million investment by one of the largest privately-held multi-state cannabis operators in the U.S. (Parallel) in a cannabis cultivation, production and retail facility in San Marco Texas, and breaking legislative gains including over a dozen pieces of cannabis-related legislation submitted for consideration in 2021, that is about to change.
Parallel’s investment reflects the growing demand for medical cannabis products in Texas. This financial commitment expands Parallel’s ability to meet the growing demand for medical cannabis products in Texas. The company has planned a 63,000 square-foot facility that is expected to create hundreds of new jobs in the San Marcos region. The company also recently introduced its goodblend retail brand a retail brand of Parallel that just launched the first cannabis capsules for patients registered in the Texas Compassionate Use Program. These capsules are the fifth medical cannabis format option offered through the company’s Surterra Wellness branded product line, and the fourth first-to-market product innovation that it has launched in Texas in the last eight months.
and the lower House chamber’s passing of H.B. 1535 on Thursday would help expand Texas’ marijuana program for those suffering from chronic conditions. Currently, the state’s cannabis program serves those suffering from grave diseases such as terminal cancer, intractable epilepsy, seizure disorders, and multiple sclerosis, but if the bill gets passed into law, those with chronic pain, non-terminal cancer, and PTSD would gain access as well. The bill would also raise the THC cap from 0.5% to 5% and make it possible for those in the medical cannabis program to have access to higher doses.
This followed the passage of H.B. 2539 in the legislature by just a day, which would lessen the penalty for possession of up to two ounces of marijuana concentrate to a misdemeanor. On Friday, the Texas legislature passed H.B. 441 which, if signed into law, would make possession of less than four ounces of marijuana a misdemeanor as well.
According to a recent University of Texas poll done in collaboration with The Texas Tribune, a large majority (60%) of Texans support the possession of cannabis for medical and recreational use, while only 13% of respondents believe it shouldn’t be legal for use of any kind. For the record, the latter describes the stance of Texas governor Greg Abbot when Texas legislators legalized the use of medical cannabis in 2015. Though he appears to have had a change of heart since then, the original laws were among the most restrictive in the country, resulting in a low number of business licenses awarded and a similarly low percentage of Texans to whom cannabis would be available. This is the original climate that Parallel’s watershed investment and proposed legislative measures are seeking to proactively improve, which many Texans hope will lead to greater access for those in need, criminal justice reform, and economic growth for the U.S.’s second-largest state.