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New Texas rules increase cost of medical marijuana program by millions

Medical marijuana in liquid form.
Medical marijuana in liquid form.

Texas’ medical marijuana CBD program is facing a major price increase after a shakeup at the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Signed into law in 2015, the program already initially had issues. It wouldn’t go into effect until late 2017, and in order to obtain access to the CBD extract you have to be a seizure patient who has already ruled out brain surgery. The program was also placed under the Texas Department of Public Safety, which is a law enforcement agency, not a medical agency.

Initial rules proposed for the new industry were already steep. Despite the low cost of a license, businesses would have to overcome monumental requirements in both securing special facilities which would be costly on their own, as well as the ability to show enough funding up front to operate for several years.

Many who have been working with the agency so far have described those assigned to run the program as receptive and reasonable. However after the Texas Department of Public Safety re-assigned those working on the program and moved new people in, costs and regulations have taken a drastic step.

According to Texas NORML, one of the organizations working with state regulators, the new rules would lead the program to be unable to sustain its own burdensome costs.

They released a statement concerning the proposed regulations and said people should take action.

“Incredibly, under the proposed rules, application and licensing fees for the first 24 months would go from $12,000 to over $2.25 million! While the Texas Department of Safety has presented a sensible approach to regulations until now, this shocking increase is simply unknown in any other medical marijuana state.”

They also add, “Critically, even if it could operate, patients could not afford the medical marijuana such an over-burdened system would produce.”

One of the reasons for the cost increase is the agency’s desire to place a uniformed officer at each dispensary during all hours of operation rather than allow businesses to contract out their security work.

The proposed rules are not final and could change again. It is also possible that a new medical cannabis law will be passed in 2017, especially given that Republicans voted to put the issue on their party’s platform during their state convention this year. However, Governor Greg Abbott stated in 2015 as he signed the CBD bill into law that Texans should not expect to see marijuana laws change any further while he remains governor.

“I remain convinced that Texas should not legalize marijuana nor should Texas open the door for conventional marijuana to be used for medical or medicinal purposes,” Abbott said. “As governor I will not allow it.”

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a 30 year old journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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