Fort Worth

Medical marijuana oil: Should it be legal for more Texans?

Medical marijuana plants have been growing for months in Texas.
Medical marijuana plants have been growing for months in Texas. Knox Laboratories

The first deliveries have been made; the first dispensary has opened.

Now the question is how much the business of cannabis oil — a non-psychoactive form of medical marijuana — may grow here in Texas.

The low-THC oil is currently available only to Texans with intractable epilepsy if federally approved medication has not helped.

But it could potentially be available to other Texans, if research proves that it helps and if state lawmakers agree.

State Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, shepherded a law that created the Texas Compassionate Use Program through the Legislature in 2015.

Now she now is looking into whether Texas might house a research initiative to determine whom else this cannabis oil might help.

"We need to take a scientific approach to this," said Klick, a former nurse. "Data helps inform our decisions about expansion, if there are any.

"There could be other conditions this could help."

She mentioned multiple sclerosis as an example, depending on what research shows.

Whether lawmakers will consider an expansion won't be known for a while, though, since they don't head back to Austin for their next regular session until Jan. 8.

The cannabis oil available for Texas patients contains the parts of a marijuana plant that lets a patient get the medical benefits without the buzz. It does not include tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive substance that produces a high.

Other marijuana use — for medical or recreational use — remains illegal in Texas and more than a dozen other states. But it is legal in some form in 29 states and the District of Columbia.

"I do not support it for recreational use," Klick said.

Cansortium Texas, one of three companies licensed by the Texas Department of Public Safety to grow and sell medical marijuana in Texas, was the first company to get the product on the market. Workers made the first delivery of the oil to a 6-year-old in Central Texas on Feb. 1.

Compassionate Cultivation opened its doors to the state's first cannabis oil dispensary for Texans who have received prescriptions from two doctors registered in the state's Compassionate Use program on Feb. 8.

A third license was issued to Suterra Texas.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

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