Program Development Updates
Summary of New Laws Impacting the Compassionate Use Program
Sept. 3, 2021
Austin – The 87th Session of the Texas Legislature made statutory changes to the Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 487, which went into effect September 1, 2021. Below is a summary of the new laws.
Caption: Relating to the medical use of low-THC cannabis by patients with certain medical conditions and the establishment of compassionate-use institutional review boards to evaluate and approve proposed research programs to study the medical use of low-THC cannabis in the treatment of certain patients.
- Expands the medical conditions for which low-THC cannabis may be prescribed to include non-terminal cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, and those medical conditions designated by the Health and Human Services Commission as authorizing treatment with low-THC cannabis as part of an approved research program.
- Increases maximum THC level of low-THC cannabis to 1% by weight.
- Establishes compassionate-use institutional review boards to evaluate and approve proposed research programs to study the medical use of low-THC cannabis.
December 5, 2019: HB 3703 Implementation Update
Beginning December 12, the CURT system will recognize incurable neurodegenerative disease as a medical condition for which low-THC cannabis may be prescribed. As required by HB 3703, the Texas Department of State Health Services has designated the applicable neurodegenerative diseases by rule effective December 5, 2019. See 25 Tex. Admin. Code 1, §1.61.
October 23, 2019: Program Development Update
- The department is not currently accepting new applications for dispensing organization licenses but ongoing operations are unchanged: qualified physicians continue to register as prescribers of low-THC cannabis, and current licensed dispensing organizations continue to fill prescriptions for patients with the required medical conditions.
- Physicians seeking to register as prescribers will now be able to select from a dropdown list the Medical Board issuing their specialty certification.
- The CURT prescription interface now includes:
- The ability to enter prescriptions as a ratio of CBD to THC,
- An expanded Prescription Instruction field to accommodate the need for additional information,
- A new field for dispensing organizations to add fulfillment notes. The physician will be able to see the fulfillment notes after the prescription is filled.
September 12, 2019: HB 3703 Implementation Update
Updated physician search is now available. The search results provide practice information of physicians who have expressly granted permission for publication.
August 15, 2019: HB 3703 Implementation Update
At this time, DPS is accepting physician registration applications to encompass the expanded list of medical conditions. Qualified physicians will now be able to issue prescriptions to patients with any of the following medical conditions:
- A seizure disorder
- Multiple sclerosis
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Terminal cancer
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.
July 29, 2019: Changes to the Prescription Process:
With the passage of HB 3703 into law, secondary physician consultation is no longer necessary to create a prescription. Beginning July 25, 2019, physicians can proceed directly from treatment plan to prescription entry. Additional changes are in progress as the program expands to allow new physician specialties and conditions for which low-THC cannabis may be prescribed. Please check back as changes will be posted on the website as they are available.
On June 14, 2019, Governor Abbott signed into law HB 3703, providing additional medical conditions for which low-THC cannabis may be prescribed and increasing the respective specialties in which prescribing physicians may practice. The bill became effective immediately. The Compassionate Use Registry is undergoing the necessary modifications to allow the registration of physicians with these additional specialties and to allow prescriptions for the additional conditions. Implementation of this bill is a top priority of DPS. Please check back for further updates.
The federal Farm Bill of 2018 provides that individual states may regulate hemp, and hemp products such as CBD, through their departments of agriculture by either submitting a regulatory plan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or by allowing the USDA to construct a regulatory program for the state. Only hemp or hemp-derived products produced through such a regulatory program are legal under federal law, and legislative action would be necessary for any change to state law.
On June 10, 2019 Governor Abbott signed into law HB 1325, authorizing the development of a regulatory program for the cultivation and sale of hemp and hemp products. The bill became effective immediately. The Texas Department of Agriculture will be responsible for the development and administration of this legislation. Questions regarding the program and the legality of hemp or hemp products, including CBD products, should be directed to the Texas Department of Agriculture.
Information about Hemp Farming
Texas Department of Agriculture or by phone at 512-463-8215 (Hemp Hotline)
TDA estimates the hemp growing permit application process to begin in spring 2020.
The Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT) will go live on September 1, 2017. Qualified physicians will be able to use the system to register with DPS and to prescribe low-THC cannabis to patients with intractable epilepsy. Prescriptions can be filled by licensed dispensing organizations once low-THC cannabis product is available.
May 1, 2017
Following the submission and review of 43 applications for dispensing organization licenses, the department announced the three conditionally approved applicants.
To ensure the department can meet its statutory obligations to implement the Texas Compassionate Use Act (Senate Bill 339) by September 1, 2017 and promptly respond to any changes sought by the legislature or executive leadership during the approaching legislative session, the department is scaling back on the development of an online application and licensing software application. Instead, the department will initially process and evaluate the applications manually, and at this time will only pursue development of the physician registration and prescription tracking online system. The development of the licensing application may be pursued at a later date.
Administrative Rules Update
The Public Safety Commission adopted proposed amendments to the administrative rules at its February 22, 2017 meeting. The rules have been submitted to the Texas Register for publication. These adopted proposals will appear in the March 10, 2017 issue with an effective date of March 15, 2017.
Proposed amendments to the administrative rules were published in the October 28, 2016 issue of the Texas Register for public comment. The comment period expired on November 28, 2016. In response to the comments, the department proposed further revisions to the rules at the Public Safety Commission's December 15, 2016 meeting. At that meeting, the Public Safety Commission voted to republish the proposals for formal comment. Following this comment period, the commission may consider the proposals for possible adoption at its next meeting on February 22, 2017. Notice of the comment period and a link for the submission of comments will be provided in the near future.
Proposed amendments to the administrative rules were presented to the Public Safety Commission at its October 13, 2016 meeting, as part of the formal rule making process. The proposals were approved for publication by the Commission. These proposed amendments will be published in the October 28, 2016 issue of the Texas Register for public comment. The comment period will expire on November 28, 2016. Comments may be submitted at Contact Us – Compassionate Use Program. Please see Proposed Rule Amendments to view the rules as published.
The Public Safety Commission (PSC) adopted the Compassionate Use Program Administrative Rules at its Dec. 17, 2015, meeting. The administrative rules became effective Jan. 10, 2016.