Medical marijuana is now available in Texas. Sort of. While several other states have celebrated this momentous occasion, not many residents of Texas are rejoicing. There are countless people that contend laws are so strict, that it’s a wonder they will help anyone at all.
The Most Restrictive MMJ Laws in the Country
Texas has some of the most restrictive medical marijuana laws in the country. Even the smallest amount of THC is prohibited, and any recreational weed could still put you in jail. Licenses to grow medical marijuana in Texas are almost $500,000, the highest in the country. Almost a half million just to get a license to grow, and the only people allowed to use it are patients with intractable epilepsy who have already tried two other types of treatment that were unsuccessful.
Those who want to throw down the cash to grow weed in the Lone Star State are mandated to have video surveillance of every square foot of their grow. They are also required to preserve the recordings for two years.
Throughout the state of Texas, which is the second-largest in the country after Alaska, there are only eight medical cannabis doctors. This is in a state with 27 million people.
One of these doctors is Dr. Paul Van Ness, a neurologist at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Van Ness supports Texas restrictive regulations on medical marijuana, even though he is one of the few prescribing it. He also contends however, that the restrictive legislation in Texas gives limited access to patients who don’t qualify, but could benefit from medical marijuana.
Regarding his patients who choose to smoke marijuana where in a state where it is strictly prohibited, Van Ness says, “They didn’t belong in jail, but that’s what happens in Texas.”
Even with Laws So Strict It’s Surprising Marijuana is Legal at All, Some Still Have Hope
Texas is one of 17 medical marijuana states that only allows low-THC cannabis. And while many people are skeptical about the future of medical marijuana in Texas, there are those who have hope.
Morris Denton operates the Compassionate Cultivation medical marijuana dispensary in Austin. He says, “If you’re willing to take a long-term view and you’re willing to suffer a few scars along the way, that success will come. The lessons themselves represent a barrier to entry for others who may come in. But I think it’s hard to pinpoint how, where and when to start a legal medical cannabis industry.”
While it seems that medical marijuana in Texas has already suffered a few scars before its even become legal, there are still those who see a successful future in a state with the strictest marijuana laws in the country.