Cansortium Texas, part of Florida-based Cansortium Holdings, received the first medical marijuana license from the state of Texas last week. Two more companies may be on the way soon, too.
Reported first by the Austin American Statesman, the company will soon be able to grow, cultivate, and sell marijuana for patients with a rare form of epilepsy. Cansortium also owns medical cannabis licenses in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico. The company’s CEO Jose Hidalgo says he was humbled by the decision.
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The Texas Department of Public Safety is also reviewing applications from Compassionate Cultivation and Surterra Texas. More than 40 applicants contested for the limited licenses the state offers under its strict medical marijuana program. The DPS ran facility inspections to ensure the companies were up to code with the scrutinized regulations.
Licenses are being issued under the Texas Compassionate Use Act, which Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law in 2015. The act legalized the production and sale of cannabidoil, an oil that doesn’t produce a high. The law only allows patients with intractable epilepsy to use the oil. Patients must have a doctor’s prescription and have already tried two conventional drug treatments that weren’t effective.
Chief executive of Compassionate Cultivation Morris Denton called it a “challenging market” and understandably so. But as activists and lobbyists attempt to push through a larger medical marijuana program into Texas legislation, these companies are establishing facilities for when the market likely expands. While the Statesman article doesn’t explicitly state nor does the business operators, this is the bet being made on marijuana in Texas.
These three companies will pay an early $490,000 fee if they’re approved and must pay an additional $320,000 to renew their license every two years. The state says this will cover the cost of regulation. Should the Texas market expand, industry leaders believe it could rival California’s booming multi-billion cannabis economy.