Advocates Hesitant to Embrace Texas Cannabis Dispensaries

Texas Department of Public Safety has given preliminary approval for three cannabis dispensaries as required by state law in 2015, but marijuana advocates say state lawmakers this session missed an opportunity to actually make it happen.

Texas' "Compassionate Use Act" would give epilepsy patients access to low-THC cannabis.  However, state lawmakers this session failed to amend the law allowing doctors to prescribe it.

"Without that critical change to protect doctors we're concerned they're not going to participate and patients aren't going to receive the medicine that they need," says Heather Fazio, spokesperson of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy.

"The way the statute is written now is that the doctor would be running a great risk for their license to practice medicine and their registration with the DEA to prescribe pharmaceutical drugs."

That means dispensaries will be producing cannabis essentially for nothing.

"No cannabis products can cross state lines unfortunately, so everything that is grown here will have to stay here and be consumed here in Texas," says Fazio.

Fazio doesn't fault DPS for moving forward as required by law, but she says dispensaries will likely be useless for at least another two years.

Advocates this year pushed to expand the use of medical cannabis in Texas, but lawmakers failed to vote on the measure.

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