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Compassionate Use Program



  • Overview
  • Licensing
  • Laws
  • Law Enforcement
  • FAQs

The Texas Compassionate Use Act (Senate Bill 339) was enacted by the Texas Legislature in 2015 (84th Legislative Session). The bill required DPS create a secure registry of physicians who treat epilepsy for the purpose of prescribing low-THC cannabis to patients who have been diagnosed with intractable epilepsy.

The Texas Legislature recently enacted House Bill 3703 (86th Leg. Sess.), providing additional medical conditions for which low-THC cannabis may be prescribed, and increasing the respective specialties in which prescribing physicians may practice. The Compassionate Use Registry has undergone the modifications necessary to allow the registration of physicians with these additional specialties and to allow prescriptions for the additional conditions. Please continue to check our News & Updates page for further information.

 

Contact Information

The department has issued licenses to three dispensing organizations and is currently accepting registration applications from physicians. List of registered physicians.

Once a prescription is dispensed, the product will be labeled with information to assist law enforcement in confirming the legitimacy of the prescription and the patient's legal right to possess low-THC cannabis.

Law Enforcement can call the Department to verify a patient or dispensing organization employee's status.

Monday – Friday 7am to 6pm:
1-833-244-6702

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

General

    1. What is "Low-THC" Cannabis?

Texas Occupations Code Sec. 169.001 defines "Low-THC Cannabis" as the plant Cannabis sativa L., and any part of that plant or any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, preparation, resin, or oil of that plant that contains:

  • Not more than 0.5 percent by weight of tetrahydrocannabinols.

    2. What medical conditions are covered under this program?

The Compassionate Use Program is statutorily limited to patients in Texas with:

  • Epilepsy,
  • A seizure disorder,
  • Multiple sclerosis,
  • Spasticity,
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,
  • Autism,
  • Terminal cancer, or,
  • *An incurable neurodegenerative disease.

    3. *When will prescriptions be authorized for patients with incurable neurodegenerative diseases?

When the Texas Health and Human Services Commission adopts rules designating the applicable diseases.


    4. Where do I send a complaint on a dispensing organization or physician?
  • Complaints regarding dispensing organizations may be submitted through the Compassionate Use Program's Contact Us or by mail.
  • For complaints regarding Physicians, please contact their respective medical board.

    5. How much will low-THC cannabis cost?
  • Prices are set by the licensed dispensing organizations, based on the market.
  • DPS does not regulate the cost of the product.

Patients

    1. How does a patient qualify for the program?

Low-THC cannabis may be prescribed if:

  • The patient is a permanent resident of Texas,
  • The patient is diagnosed with epilepsy, a seizure disorder, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, autism, terminal cancer, or an incurable neurodegenerative disease, and,
  • 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.

    2. 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 information into the Compassionate Use Registry.

    3. Are there any age restrictions for low-THC Cannabis prescriptions?
  • Statute places no limitations on the age of the patient.
  • Patients under 18 may require a legal guardian.

    4. 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.


    5. 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 last 5 of SSN of legal guardians in the Compassionate Use Registry.
  • Patients or legal guardians will be required to show proof of identification to the dispensing organization.

    6. Can you have a prescription from another state filled in Texas?

No, Texas Health and Safety Code §487.107 only authorizes the possession of low-THC cannabis that is obtained through a prescription issued by a physician registered with the CUP program and the dispensing of a prescription for a person listed as a patient in the Compassionate Use Registry.


    7. 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.

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

No. Texas Occupations Code §169.001 specifically excludes smoking from the definition of "medical use."


    9. 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, and purchased from a licensed dispensing organization.


    10. How do I get a prescription?
  • The registered physician will enter a prescription in the CURT system.
  • The patient or legal guardian will then have the ability to go to any of the dispensaries to have the prescription filled.
  • The patient or legal guardian will need to provide identification and patient's last name, date of birth, and last 5 of social security number.

    11. What should I do if my prescription is not found by the dispensing organization?

Ensure the dispensing organization entered the information correctly. If so, contact your doctor to ensure they entered the prescription information.


    12. Who currently holds a license as a dispensing organization?

As of December 15, 2017, the department has issued three dispensing organization licenses:

  • Fluent (formerly Cansortium Texas) was licensed on September 1, 2017.
  • Compassionate Cultivation was licensed on October 31, 2017.
  • Surterra Texas was licensed on December 15, 2017.  

Contact information is under the FAQ's for dispensing organizations.

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Dispensing Organizations

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

Texas Health and Safety Code Ch 487 requires the department license at least three dispensing organizations, provided at least three applicants have met the statutory requirements.


    2. Why did DPS 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 for patients prescribed low-THC cannabis under Chapter 169, Occupations Code.

    3. What is the contact information for the three licensed dispensing organizations?

    4. How will the dispensing organizations ensure statewide access for patients?
  • The dispensing organizations' employees will be delivering prescriptions, as well as potentially filling prescriptions over the counter.
  • You may wish to contact the licensed dispensing organizations to determine their specific delivery approach.

    5. Will testing laboratories be licensed or approved by the state?
  • Texas Health and Safety Code Ch.487 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.

    6. 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 Administrative rules, Section 12.12


    7. How do employees register in CURT?

Dispensing Organizations will need to submit a RSD-52 form for each employee. Once they are registered, the employee will be emailed a link to create their account in CURT.


    8. Are there restrictions on dispensing organization proximity to schools or daycares?

Yes. Administrative Rule 12.7(n) states:

  • 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.

    9. Can local governments prohibit the operations of a licensed dispensing organization?

No. Texas Health and Safety Code Sec. 487.201 states:

  • 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.

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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 as follows:

  • Proof of one or more board certifications in a medical specialty relevant to the treatment of each patient's particular medical condition by a specialty board approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties or the Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists.
  • The approved medical conditions for which low-THC cannabis may be prescribed are:
    • Epilepsy
    • A seizure disorder
    • Multiple Sclerosis
    • Spasticity
    • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
    • Autism
    • Terminal cancer
    • *Incurable neurodegenerative diseases

NOTE: *Incurable neurodegenerative diseases are not currently available as a basis for prescription, pending rule adoption by Health and Human Services Commission designating applicable diseases.


    2. What should a physician do if the application for registration is denied?

Contact DPS' Regulatory Services Division for more information regarding the denial.


    3. What should I do if the patient I am trying to add is already associated with another physician?

The patient will need to contact their previous physician and ask to have the "relationship terminated" in the CURT system.


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Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT)

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

    1. What is the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT)?
  • CURT is the system that allows physicians to register and prescribe low-THC cannabis to patients with certain medical conditions.
  • Once prescribed, dispensing organizations can search for the patient in the system and dispense the medication according the prescription.

    2. Who needs to register in CURT?

Physicians who qualify under Texas Compassionate Use Act §169.002 and would like to prescribe low-THC cannabis for qualifying patients will need to register through CURT.


    3. Is CURT available to physicians, dispensing organizations and law enforcement 24hrs a day?

Yes. The CURT system is available to physicians and dispensing organizations 24-hours a day. Law Enforcement can call the Department to verify a patient or dispensing organization employee's status.

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