Located just south of Austin is Compassionate Cultivation, the first medical marijuana dispensary in Texas. History was made on Thursday when Compassionate Cultivation opened its doors for business.

For the select few that qualify for medical marijuana in Texas, this is something to celebrate. Although medical marijuana was legalized in Texas in 2015, it’s taken until now for the first dispensary in the Lone Star State to open.

Medical marijuana in Texas however, looks nothing like it does in other legal states. Texas has the most restrictive medical marijuana laws in the country. Only one condition has been approved, and there is only one product patients are permitted to use.

Patients who qualify for medical cannabis, Texas-style, must have intractable epilepsy and can only use CBD oil.

The first patient to receive medical marijuana at Compassionate Cultivation was a 2-year-old boy named Oscar. His mother, Christy Wilkens, said she has been looking for a way to control her young son’s seizures since he was diagnosed at 5 months old. Wilkens said she’s excited to try cannabis oil. It has after all, drastically improved the lives of countless children who experience seizures.

Wilkens also mentioned that she’s aware of the other children who could benefit from CBD, but don’t qualify under Texas’ strict laws.

“I’m saddened a bit to think that Texas is so far behind the curve,” Wilkens said. “It’s taken this long for this day to come for Oscar and for everyone else. I know that there are still a lot of people who aren’t going to be able to get this medicine who really need it.”

Although Texas medical marijuana laws remain strict, Compassionate Cultivation is just one of several businesses in the state interested in medical marijuana. There are currently three medical dispensaries in Texas: Compassionate Cultivation, Cansortium Texas (where the first dose of CBD was given to a 6-year-old girl last week), and Surterra Texas.

Compassionate Cultivation is hopeful for the future of medical marijuana in Texas. CEO, Morris Denton was initially excited at the prospect of creating a new business in the emerging industry. When he began receiving emails and phone calls from parents seeking treatment for their children and patients with epilepsy however, Denton said his endeavor became a mission.

“They’re our neighbors,” said Denton. “They’re our friends. They’re people throughout the state of Texas who in some cases have had to go to other states, have had to take refuge in other states in order to get this medication. And they want to come back.” 

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