In 2015, Gov. Greg Abbott signed the first bill allowing any growing or sale of marijuana in Texas. The Texas Compassionate Use Act legalized the selling of a specific kind of cannabis oil derived from marijuana plants for a very small group of customers: epilepsy patients whose symptoms have not responded to federally approved medication.
Two years later, Texans still can’t legally buy cannabis oil, but a handful of companies believe they are weeks away from receiving the official go-ahead to become the state’s first sellers.
But even if those approvals go through, it’ll still be some time before any Texans will be able to buy what they’re selling.
The three eligible dispensaries — Surterra Texas, Cansortium Texas and Compassionate Cultivation — are waiting on the final stamp of approval from the Texas Department of Public Safety to begin growing and distributing marijuana. The agency has until Sept. 1 to do so under the 2015 law.
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That could put cannabis oil on the market by January, two and a half years after Abbott signed a law legalizing it, according to some potential sellers.
“Let’s say that we get our final license on Sept. 1. Only after that point will we be able to start growing marijuana,” said Morris Denton, a spokesman for Compassionate Cultivation, which is planning a dispensary in the Austin area. “Once we start growing, it’s going to take about four months before we’re ready to dispense medicine because of the extraction and testing process the plant has to go through after it’s been harvested.”
Dispensaries like Compassionate Cultivation will only be able to sell to a small percentage of Texans under the narrow 2015 law, which allows for the sale of oils with low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive element in marijuana, and high levels of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-euphoric component known to treat epilepsy and other chronic medical…