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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Index

Patients

    1. Which medical conditions are approved for low-THC cannabis?

The Texas Compassionate Use Act allows the use of low-THC cannabis for intractable epilepsy. 


    2. How does a patient qualify for the program?

A patient may be prescribed low-THC cannabis if:

  • A patient is a permanent resident of Texas,
  • A patient is diagnosed with intractable epilepsy,
  • The qualified physician determines the risk of the medical use of low-THC cannabis by a patient is reasonable in light of the potential benefit for the patient, and
  • A second qualified physician has concurred with the determination.

    3. Will patients have to register with the state or pay a fee?

No. Statute does not require patients to register or pay a fee. Patient information will be retained in the Compassionate Use Registry. A qualified physician will enter a patient's name, date of birth, low-THC dosage prescribed and means of administration into the Compassionate Use Registry.


    4. Will patients under 18 be able participate?

Yes. Statute places no limitations on the age of the patient.


    5. Will I be able to bring my child from out-of-state to acquire low-THC cannabis in Texas?

Patients must be permanent Texas residents.


    6. Will patients be able to grow their own cannabis?

No. Only licensed dispensers will be able grow cannabis and only for use in the production of low-THC cannabis. Patients are required to purchase low-THC cannabis products from a licensed dispensing organization.


    7. How much will low-THC cannabis cost?

Prices will be set by the licensed dispensing organizations, based on the market. DPS does not regulate the cost of the product.


    8. Where will I be able to find a licensed dispensing organization?

As dispensing organizations become licensed, a list will be posted on Compassionate Use Program Licensing & Registration.


    9. Will patients’ legal guardians be able to pick up the order from a dispensing organization?

Yes. Physicians will be required to document the names and addresses of legal guardians in the Compassionate Use Registry. Patients or legal guardians will be required to show proof of identification to the dispensing organization.


    10. Will it be legal for patients to smoke low-THC cannabis?

No. Texas Occupations Code §169.001 specifically prohibits ingesting low-THC by smoking.


    11. What protections will patients and legal guardians have from criminal prosecution?

Texas Health and Safety Code §481.111(e)(1) provides exemptions from state laws prohibiting possession of marijuana for patients  (and their legal guardians) for whom low-THC cannabis is prescribed under a valid prescription from a dispensing organization.

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Dispensing Organizations

    1. How many dispensing organizations will be licensed in Texas?

Senate Bill 339 (84th Texas Legislature) requires the department license at least three dispensing organizations, provided at least three applicants have met the statutory requirements.


    2. Are there any plans to expand the program to include other conditions?

The conditions to which the program applies are determined by statute. The department cannot comment concerning any potential or pending legislation and will implement the statute as directed by the legislature.


    3. Will testing laboratories be licensed or approved by the state?

Senate Bill 339 (84th Texas Legislature) regulates the cultivation, processing, and dispensing of low-THC cannabis and does not specifically address the licensing of low-THC cannabis testing laboratories. Only licensed dispensing organizations may test low-THC products.


    4. Will dispensing organizations be allowed to make products from different plant strains even if the plant has more THC, as long as the end product meets statutory levels?

Texas Health & Safety Code §481.111(e)(2) provides the statutory guidelines for what dispensing organizations are legally authorized to possess.


    5. Will I need a registration to work at a dispensing organization?

Yes. Texas Health & Safety Code §487.151 provides the requirements for employees to obtain a registration to work at a dispensing organization. Additional information can be found in the proposed rules, Section 12.12. See Compassionate Use Laws & Regulations.


    6. Are there restrictions on dispensary proximity to schools, churches?

Yes, as adopted 2.22.17 Administrative Rule 12.7(n) states:

(n) All regulated premises shall be located at least 1000 feet from any private or public school or day care center that existed prior to the date of initial license application, measured from the closest points on the respective property lines.


    7. Will there be a limit on the number of dispensaries?

Section 487.104 of the Health and Safety Code provides the department shall issue a license to operate as a dispensing organization only if:

(1) the department determines the applicant meets the eligibility requirements described by Section 487.102; and
(2) issuance or renewal of the license is necessary to ensure reasonable statewide access to, and the availability of, low-THC cannabis for patients registered in the compassionate-use registry and for whom low-THC cannabis is prescribed under Chapter 169, Occupations Code.


    8. Are there counties that will not allow a dispensary?

Sec. 487.201. COUNTIES AND MUNICIPALITIES MAY NOT PROHIBIT LOW-THC CANNABIS. A municipality, county, or other political subdivision may not enact, adopt, or enforce a rule, ordinance, order, resolution, or other regulation that prohibits the cultivation, production, dispensing, or possession of low-THC cannabis, as authorized by this chapter.


    9. Do we need to submit receipts of the finger printing with the application if the team followed the process and used the service listed on the DPS CUP website?

No, fingerprint receipts are not required. The fingerprints will be transmitted to the department electronically. However, applicants may wish to keep the receipt in case of a discrepancy.


    10. Do we need to submit proof of payment as part of the application?

When applicants submit their payment, they should send an email to RSD.CUP@dps.texas.gov with the company name and the date and time the payment was submitted. Department personnel will notify the applicant once payment has been verified via email.


    11. What is the contact information for the 3 conditionally approved dispensing organizations?

Cansortium Texas:
Adam Sharon- Communications Director
adam@knoxmedical.com

Compassionate Cultivation:
Morris Denton
morrisdenton@compassionatecultivationtx.com

Surterra:
Wes Van Dyk – Chief Development Officer
(512) 900-7552
press@surterra.com


    12. Is there a review process by which an applicant can challenge or seek clarification of its scores?

Questions regarding the scoring criteria, the scoring matrix, the method of calculation, or perceived calculation errors, may be addressed by email to https://www.dps.texas.gov/rsd/contact/CUP.aspx. The review panel members' judgments regarding the applications materials, reflected in their scores, are not subject to review.


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Physicians

    1. What are the qualifications for physicians to prescribe low-THC cannabis?

Physician qualifications are outlined in the Texas Compassionate Use Act §169.002.


    2. As a physician, I am concerned about providing a prescription for low-THC cannabis. Will the term “prescription” be changed to “recommendation?”

SB 339 refers to ‘prescriptions’ throughout the statute and creates an exemption from criminal offenses for those who obtain low-THC cannabis through a prescription issued the Compassionate Use Act. The proposed change would interfere with these exemptions and potentially subject these individuals to criminal prosecution.  The change would require extensive statutory amendment and cannot be implemented by administrative rule.  DPS has, however, added a definition of prescription to the administrative rules. See Administrative Rule §12.1(9)


    3. How will physicians register in the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas?

Physicians will be required to certify:

  • They qualify under Texas Compassionate Use Act §169.002.
  • The patient is diagnosed with intractable epilepsy.
  • The physician determines the risk of the medical use of low-THC cannabis by the patient is reasonable in light of the potential benefit for the patient.

Physician registration will include:

  • Physician name
  • Patient name and date of birth
  • Dosage prescribed
  • Means of administration ordered for the patient
  • Total amount of low-THC cannabis required to fill the patient’s prescription

    4. Which medical conditions are approved for treatment with low-THC cannabis?

The Texas Compassionate Use Act allows the use of low-THC cannabis for treatment of the symptoms related to intractable epilepsy.

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Law Enforcement

    1. Will patients be able to grow their own cannabis?

No. Only licensed cultivators can grow cannabis and only for the production of low-THC cannabis. Patients are required to purchase low-THC cannabis products from a licensed dispensing organization.


    2. Will it be legal to smoke medical marijuana now?

No. Texas Occupations Code §169.001 specifically prohibits ingesting low-THC by smoking.


    3. What protections will patients and legal guardians have against criminal prosecution for possession of marijuana?

Texas Health and Safety Code §481.111(e)(1) provides exemptions from the  criminal offenses relating to possession of marijuana for a patient  or legal guardian for whom low-THC cannabis is prescribed under a valid prescription from a dispensing organization.


    4. Will dispensing organizations be allowed to make products from different plant strains even if the plant has more THC, as long as the end product meets statutory levels?

Texas Health & Safety Code §481.111(e)(2) provides the statutory guidelines for what dispensing organizations are legally authorized to possess. 


    5. How will law enforcement personnel be able to verify that a patient or doctor is registered?

Law enforcement will be able to access the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas. Physicians will be required to certify that: 

  • They qualify under the Texas Compassionate Use Act §169.002.
  • The patient is diagnosed with intractable epilepsy.
  • The physician determines the risk of the medical use of low-THC cannabis by the patient is reasonable in light of the potential benefit for the patient.

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General

    1. When will this program be operational?

The department has conditionally approved for licensure the top three scoring applicants. The department is moving forward with the onsite inspection of the facilities of the top three applicants to determine whether these three applicants will be issued dispensing organization licenses. Updates will be provided on the Compassionate Use Program website as the program develops.


    2. When will additional medical conditions be added to this program?

The Compassionate Use Program is statutorily limited to patients in Texas with intractable epilepsy. Adding conditions will require legislative action.


    3. Why did DPS conditionally approve only three licenses? Will the number of licenses be increased in the future?

This was based on an analysis of other states' compassionate–use programs, the number of patients in Texas with intractable epilepsy, and statutory requirements. Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 487 requires that the department issue at least three licenses but no more than the number of licenses necessary to ensure reasonable statewide access to – and availability of – low-THC cannabis for patients prescribed low-THC cannabis under Chapter 169, Occupations Code. A decision to increase the number will be made if and when it is determined that more licenses are required in order to ensure reasonable statewide access.


    4. How did DPS score the applicants?

The panel reviewed and scored each applicant based on the applicant's ability to satisfy the program's requirements and provide reasonable statewide access and availability. The scoring matrix was based on the application requirements provided in the statute and administrative rules. The values of the various required items reflect the relative importance of each item in establishing the applicant's ability to provide reasonable statewide access to – and availability of – low-THC cannabis for patients, in compliance with the statute and rules.


    5. How will the dispensing organizations ensure state wide access for patients?

The dispensing organizations' employees will be delivering prescriptions. (You may wish to contact the conditionally approved dispensing organizations to determine their specific delivery approach.)


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