Texas has issued its first medical marijuana license to help treat epilepsy. Two more companies are expected to be awarded licenses soon.
Licenses are being issued under the Texas Compassionate Use Act, signed into law in 2015, by Gov. Greg Abbott. The companies were selected from more than 40 applicants in May, and have undergone a series of facility inspections. The companies face strict state regulations concerning customer base numbers and product formulation.
The company Cansortium Texas, part of a Florida-based Cansortium Holdings, received a license last Friday. The company will be allowed to grow, process, and sell medical marijuana for patients with a rare form of epilepsy. The state Department of Public Safety is reviewing applications from Compassionate Cultivation and Surterra Texas as well. Patients must have a doctor's prescription and have already tried two conventional drug treatments that weren't effective.
"It is safe to say that it is a challenging market," said Morris Denton, chief executive of Compassionate Cultivation. "I hope to eventually persuade state lawmakers to make medical marijuana available to a wider group of people."
The three companies will pay a nearly $490,000 fee once they're approved. They'll have to renew the license in two years for nearly $320,000. The fees cover the cost of regulating the industry, state officials said.
Industry experts believe relaxing the restrictions and making medical marijuana more widely available could allow the Texas market to rival California's estimated $2.8 billion cannabis market.
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