Why Texas’ Medical Cannabis Program Sucks
The accessibility of medical cannabis continues to grow with each new legislative session. There are nearly 45 states that have implemented some form of medical cannabis legislation for adult patients. However, not all states accessibility to cannabis has been created equal. Texas’ medical cannabis program is one of the worst cannabis applications in the nation. Here are a few reasons why Texas’s medical cannabis program is subpar compared to other states.
Problems on the surface in Texas
As of 2021, there are only three licensed medical cannabis businesses. That’s it for the entire state: three. There are nearly 28 million adults in Texas who would be eligible for medical cannabis programs elsewhere. However, there are only approximately 3,500 Texans who have been successfully enrolled in the medical cannabis program. For context, the state of Oklahoma has nearly 100 times the amount of enrolled patients in their medical cannabis program. Oklahoma also has nearly 20 million less eligible adults eligible for their program. The state of Louisiana also had more patients enrolled in their relative programs than the 3000+ Texans. Just last year, New Mexico witnessed nearly 30 times that amount register for the state’s medicinal cannabis program. This lack of accessibility almost makes Texas’ medical cannabis program futile.
Lack of accessibility
The reason Texans are not being permitted to the medical cannabis program lies within the program’s design. The program has one of the most ridiculous restrictions on THC of all medically-accessible states. Contextually, there are only 6 states’ THC cap worse than Texas’ medicinal cannabis program. Moreover, the expenses associated with operating a medical cannabis business in Texas is higher compared to other states. On the patient side of things, getting into the medical cannabis program is nearly impossible. This is due to the restrictive list of qualifying medical conditions that Texas has chosen to implement.
What a low-THC cap means for the program
Regarding medical cannabis, the amount of THC allowed by the program is tantamount. This is because one of the most attractive health benefits associated with cannabis is the Entourage Effect. This is the name given to the boosting effect cannabis applies to consumers when they ingest both CBD and THC simultaneously. The medical cannabis program in Texas allows only 0.5% THC per gram. For context, industrial hemp is identified as < 0.3% THC per gram. Theoretically, Texas is passing off industrial hemp as high grade medicinal cannabis. This simply is not enough to gain all the health benefits associated with cannabis. On average, adults in various recreational states are permitted to purchase THC products up to 24%.
How the MORE Act could assist Texas’ program
The MORE Act is a bill that was recently passed in the United States House of Representatives that proposed a slew of pro-cannabis legislations. A Representative originally drafted the act out of New York. Over time, the bill gained an intense amount of traction; yielding more than 100 cosponsors. One primary statute of the MORE Act would remove cannabis from the list of Schedule I substances prohibited by federal law. This would allow a free range of research to be performed on cannabis. Moreover, this would give Texas no reason to allow such a restrictive medicinal cannabis program. The passing of the MORE Act could see Texas revamp its medical cannabis program entirely. As of January 2021, the MORE Act is on its way to the US Senate. Since the Democrats have regained power in the Senate thanks to the results of the recent Georgia runoff election, the MORE Act is more likely to pass now more than ever.