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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. In addition, the bill required DPS to license at least three dispensing organizations by Sept. 1, 2017, should they meet the requirements. The license authorizes the organizations to cultivate, process and dispense low-THC cannabis to prescribed patients.

Having met all requirements, effective September 1, 2017, Cansortium Texas has been issued a license to operate as a low-THC cannabis dispensing organization as provided in the Texas Compassionate Use Act.

Contact information for Cansortium Texas and the remaining conditionally approved dispensing organizations can be found on the FAQ tab under Dispensing Organization.

News & Updates

The Compassionate Use Program has currently licensed one dispensing organization. The Program is also currently accepting registration applications from physicians, which will enable the physicians to begin entering prescriptions. However, no prescriptions can be filled until the licensed dispensing organization completes the cultivation and processing of its first crop and has product ready to be dispensed. 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)

Index

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. 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:

  1. not more than 0.5 percent by weight of tetrahydrocannabinols; and
  2. not less than 10 percent by weight of cannabidiol.

    3. What medical conditions are covered under this program?

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


    4. 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.


    5. How will the dispensing organizations ensure state wide 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 conditionally approved dispensing organizations to determine their specific delivery approach.


    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. 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.".


    8. 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.


    9. 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.


    10. Where do I send a complaint on a dispensing organization or physician?

Complaints regarding dispensing organizations may be submitted through the Compassionate Use Program Contact Us or by mail. For complaints regarding Physicians, please contact their respective medical board.


Patients

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

The Texas Compassionate Use Act specifically limits the use of low-THC cannabis to patients with 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 information into the Compassionate Use Registry.


    4. 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.


    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. 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.


    7. 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.


    8. 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.


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

No, SB 339 only authorizes the possession of low-THC cannabis that is obtained through a prescription issued by a physician registered with the CUP program.

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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. 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.


    3. 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.


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

Yes, 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.


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

Texas Health and Safety Code 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.


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

Cansortium Texas:
info@knoxmedical.com

Compassionate Cultivation:
Morris Denton

Surterra:
Susan Driscoll
(512) 900-7552

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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?"

Texas Health and Safety Code Ch 487 refers to 'prescriptions' and creates an exemption from criminal offenses for those who obtain low-THC cannabis through a prescription issued under the Compassionate Use Act.  Definition of prescription is identified in the Texas Administrative Rule §12.1(9)

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Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT)

General

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)?

The Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT) is the systems that allow physicians to register and prescribe "Low-THC" cannabis to patients with intractable epilepsy. Once prescribed, dispensing organizations search the patient in the system and dispense the medication.


    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?

As of Sept. 1, 2017 the system is available to physicians and dispensing organizations 24 hours a day. Law Enforcement access is currently being built in the system and should be available soon.


Physician

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

Contact Regulatory Services Division for more information regarding the denial.


    2. Can I delegate entering Patient information to my staff?

No. Only the registered practitioner is authorized to utilize the CURT account.


    3. Does my patient need to see a secondary physician for the secondary consult in CURT?

No. It is not necessary for the secondary physician to have contact with the patient. The primary physician can discuss the patient's condition with secondary physician for approval.


    4. What information is needed from the secondary physician for a consult?

The secondary physician will need to provide their CURT username to the primary physician. The primary physician will enter this information under the patient details.


    5. 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.


Patient

    1. Do I need to register in CURT?

Patients do not need to register in CURT, nor will they need access to CURT. The physician will add the patient into CURT.


    2. How do I get my prescription?

The physician will enter the prescription in the CURT system. Patient or legal guardian will then have the ability to go to any of the dispensaries to have the prescription filled. Patient or legal guardian will need to provide identification and patient's last name, date of birth, and last 5 of social security number.


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

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


Dispensing Organization

    1. How do employees register in CURT?

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

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