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New Medical Marijuana Law Goes Into Effect, Expanding Access To Cancer Patients And Texans With PTSD

Lawmakers also increased the allowable level of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. But not by much.

New medical marijuana rules in Texas went into effect on Sept. 1, 2021.

Thousands more Texans can now be prescribed medical cannabis oil with low levels of THC, the ingredient that gets people high.

House Bill 1535, which went into effect Wednesday, expands the state’s compassionate use program to people with any type of cancer and those dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The law also doubled the THC limit allowable under the program from 0.5% to 1%. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the ingredient in marijuana that can produce a psychological effect.

It’s another expansion of the state’s medical cannabis law created in 2015. Still, the state’s program remains one of the most restrictive in the country.

Though an overwhelming majority of Texans believe marijuana should be legal in some form, the final call when it comes to determining who can access it lies with the state’s elected leaders.

And while HB 1535 increases THC levels and expands the number of people who qualify for the program, lawmakers once again chose to move the program forward only by baby steps.

The bill Fort Worth state Rep. Stephanie Klick submitted back in March called for cannabis oil to be made available only to some sufferers of PTSD, specifically veterans. But many who testified on the bill at the Texas Capitol, including veterans, said eligibility should be extended to anyone dealing with the condition.

That was the same logic behind the move to include all forms of cancer.

“It’s arguable that any form of cancer could be terminal, right? So it felt like a very arbitrary descriptor,” said Jax Finkel, the executive director of Texas NORML, a national organization seeking to legalize marijuana.

She said people dealing with the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy shouldn’t have to worry about whether their fight against cancer is dire enough to warrant medical relief from cannabis oil.

Though the increase in the amount of THC is minor, Finkel said, it will allow cannabis oil producers to better serve their patients.

When the bill was introduced, many hoped the THC limit would increase even more, to a maximum of 5%.

That would have increased the limit tenfold. Still, some of the Texans who testified that they already self-medicate with illegal marijuana said it was too low.

Legislators in the House agreed to the 5% THC limit, but the Senate cut it back to only 1%.

The House version also included additional medical conditions. One of the most talked about was anything that causes acute or chronic pain for which a physician would otherwise prescribe opioids.

Several Texans testified about their battles with opioids over the years and extolled the benefits that medical marijuana had brought to their lives. But the Senate ultimately removed that provision.

“Texans support a robust and inclusive medical cannabis program that allows doctors and patients to decide their treatment and formulations,” Finkel said. “But then when we look at the Legislature, they’re only there every two years. So any patients that aren’t included, have to languish for two years.”

Despite the fact that about 85% of Texans believe marijuana should be legal, both medically and recreationally, lawmakers have chosen to move slowly. And the program will grow only as much as the Legislature allows it to grow.

“I think there are some easy things they can do next session to put power in the hands of doctors and patients,” Finkel said. “That’s allowing the Department of State Health Services to allow petitions, add new conditions, evaluate them and add them on a regular basis. To allow them to deal with dosing, because those are the medical professionals.”

It’s not that radical of an idea to allow DSHS to evaluate and add medical conditions to the state’s medical marijuana registry. In fact, it’s something that was included in the version of the bill the House passed.

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But the Senate ultimately decided to remove that provision, too.

Got a tip? Email Jerry Quijano at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @jerryquijano.

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How to Get a Texas Medical Marijuana Card in 2022

Are you interested in getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Texas? You’ve come to the right place. We hope this article acts as a valuable guide to help you understand the process of applying for your MMJ Card and getting your medical cannabis certificate. We keep this information up to date to make sure it is accurate and makes your journey as simple as possible. Keep reading to find out more.

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Table of Content

Getting a Texas Medical Marijuana Card Online

As a telehealth platform helping people easily obtain their medical marijuana cards, Leafwell can help you quickly and securely get a Texas Medical Marijuana Certificate online (medical marijuana cards aren’t available in Texas). We’ve put together this valuable guide which will answer all your questions and help individuals living in Texas understand the importance of applying for their Texas MMJ certification/registration via the easy, HIPAA-compliant process offered by Leafwell’s telemedicine platform. You can meet with one of our physicians today:

Get Your Texas Medical Card

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Who Can Apply?

To apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in Texas, you must be a legal resident of Texas.

Patients must be aged 18 or over in order to apply for a medical marijuana card for themselves. Minors can have a parent or legal guardian apply on their behalf.

There is no information on the Texas Compassionate Use Program website about a caregiver program. We are looking into this and will provide more information as soon as possible.

There is no registration fee or program to sign up to but your information will be retained in the compassionate use registry (called “CURT”) after your physician has entered this information, following your approval.

Get Your Medical Card

Connect with a licensed physician online in minutes.

What Does an MMJ Card Permit in Texas?

Please note that the Texas Compassionate Use Program is a Low-THC program. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive component of cannabis. Even though it has significant therapeutic uses, states like Texas have curtailed its use. Cannabidiol (CBD), which is non-intoxicating, is the compound that most states have opened up to somewhat.

As an MMJ Card holder in Texas, you are permitted to possess:

  • Any amount of low-THC, high-CBD oil
  • Low-THC is considered 1% THC (the old limit was 0.5%) or less for medical patients – anything above this is considered “marijuana” or “THC oil”
  • Products cannot be smoked, even if they are less than 1% THC

Marijuana is not recreationally legal in Texas and laws are very strict. For non-medical users, the maximum THC percentage is 0.3%.

How do I Apply?

With Leafwell, you can get registered for medical cannabis in Texas in 4 simple steps:

1. Register online with Leafwell

You can speak to a doctor and qualify for a Texas medical marijuana card online and complete your payment details. You are only billed if approved.

2. Attend your appointment and discuss with your physician why you would like an MMJ Card

The doctor will ask you questions based on your medical history and provide you with advice and guidance on whether medical marijuana is a good choice for you.

3. Our Physician will add you to CURT

After your call, our physician will complete some administrative tasks to add you to the Compassionate Use Registry (CUP) in Texas, aka CURT.

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4. Buy medical, CBD-rich marijuana

Once your details are entered by our physician, your details will be validated by the state and you will be able to fulfil your prescription using your preferred dispensary. There is no physical card in Texas so you won’t need to wait for anything to be posted or emailed to you by Leafwell.

Get Your Texas Medical Card

Connect with a licensed physician online in minutes.

What Does my Online Medical Marijuana Evaluation with Leafwell Include?

Your online medical marijuana evaluation with Leafwell is quick and easy. In order to get started, we’ll need you to provide us with some preliminary details as well as some medical records. These are all passed securely to one of our registered practitioners who can familiarize themselves with your application before your consultation.

The consultation itself is simple and secure, taking place on our bespoke telemedicine platform. You will meet with a Texas registered practitioner who has experience issuing certificates for medical marijuana to patients for a range of medical issues. The registered practitioner will speak with you about why you are applying and ask some questions with regards to your medical conditions and history.

At the end of the consultation, the registered practitioner will be able to make an informed decision about whether they recommend the use of medical cannabis based on the medical information they have obtained. If an application is successful, the registered practitioner will add your details to CURT.

If an application is unsuccessful, you will not be charged for the consultation.

Once you are in the system, the registration will last for one year.

Get Your Texas Medical Card

Connect with a licensed physician online in minutes.

How Much Does a Medical Marijuana Card Cost in Texas?

Please note that Texas does not have a medical marijuana card system, so you will not receive anything from the state or Leafwell. The consulting physician instead enters you onto the Texas Compassionate Use Registry, which lasts one year and needs to be renewed every year.

The consultation with one of the Texas registered practitioners via Leafwell’s HIPAA compliant online consultation service is a flat fee of $199. However, if you do not qualify for an MMJ Card and our practitioner elects not to sign your certificate, you will not be charged.

There is no state fee for completing your medical marijuana application to the Texas state.

Insurance does not currently cover the cost of applying for an MMJ Card in Texas because cannabis is illegal at the federal level.

What Conditions Qualify for Medical Marijuana Registry in Texas?

According to Texas law in 2021, the following debilitating conditions may qualify you for a medical marijuana certification in Texas:

  • A seizure disorder
  • An incurable neurodegenerative disease
  • Cancer
  • Spasticity
  • Terminal cancer

Note that this list is up to date as of September 2021. Legislation or the Commissioner of Health may add additional conditions, at which time, Leafwell will update this list.

What Documents Do I Need to Apply for a Medical Cannabis Card?

In order to apply for your MMJ Card in Texas, you will need to show medical records which provide proof of your condition as well as your identification documents. You will also be asked to provide your Texas Driver’s License Number or Texas State ID number

Do I Need to Present my Medical Records to Leafwell?

Yes, our healthcare providers are legally required to see medical records. In order to responsibly sign a certificate which permits individuals to apply for an MMJ card, our registered practitioners must have a comprehensive understanding of your medical history.

This allows them to provide an accurate assessment to ensure that medical cannabis is a good option for each patient on a case-by-case basis.

How Does a Caregiver Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card?

There is no information on the CURT website about caregivers. However, patients under the age of 18, minors, can have their parent or legal guardian apply on their behalf, thereby effectively acting as their caregiver.

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Can a Qualifying Patient Grow Cannabis in Texas?

No, it is illegal to cultivate marijuana in Texas.

Are my Details Kept Confidential When I Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card?

Yes. Leafwell is committed to protecting the privacy of our patients. Our online service is HIPAA compliant and our systems are designed to keep all of your confidential details safe.

Does Texas Have Medical Marijuana Reciprocity?

Some states accept out-of-state Medical Marijuana Cards. This is called reciprocity. The following states accept out-of-state medical cannabis cards:

  • Alaska ^
  • Arkansas *
  • California ^
  • Colorado ^
  • Hawaii *
  • Nevada
  • Oklahoma *
  • Oregon ^
  • Puerto Rico
  • Washington ^
  • Washington D.C.

States marked with * require visitors to complete a visiting patient application for the duration of their stay.

States marked with ^ have adult use programs but do not accept out of state cards.

Get Your Medical Card

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Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Austin

While Texas as a state has relatively severe charges in place for cannabis possession, several municipalities more lenient punishments:

  • El Paso – called for legalization in 2009 but this resolution was vetoed by mayor. In 2017, it adopted the First Chance Program and the cite-and-release policy in 2020
  • Austin – instituted cite-and-release for small possession amounts in 2009. It moved to eliminate penalties for up to 4 ounce possessions in 2020.
  • Harris – launched First Chance Intervention Program in 2014. This was followed by the Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program in 2017
  • Dallas – adopted cite-and-release policy in 2017. This was expanded to announce that individuals caught in possession of misdemeanour amounts of cannabis would not be prosecuted for first-time offences and subsequent offences would lead to diversionary courses in 2019
  • Bexar County – adopted cite-and-release policy in 2017. In 2019, they expanded this program to stop prosecutions of less than one ounce of cannabis
  • Travis County – approved a diversion program in 2017

Regardless of where you are in Texas, you can get a medical marijuana card with Leafwell, MD and our network of state-licensed physicians. Wherever you are in Texas, if you hold an MMJ Card, you can easily find a dispensary where you can purchase the marijuana products you require. Check back here soon to find the details for our clinics in Texas.

Remember: you don’t have to visit a clinic in-person in order to qualify for a certificate and MMJ card in Texas – you can do it all online, with Leafwell!

History of Medical Marijuana Laws in Texas

Here is a brief overview of the history of medical marijuana laws and legislation in Texas:

  • 1931 – possession was banned statewide and possession of any amount was a felony offence which carried a potential prison sentence of anywhere from 2 years to lif
  • 1973 – penalties for cannabis offences are significantly reduced (possession of up to two ounces reduced to $1000 fine and a prison sentence of no more than 180 days)
  • 2015 – the Texas Compassionate Use Act is enacted. It required DPS to create a secure registry of physicians who treat epilepsy for the purpose of prescribing low-THC cannabis to their patients who have been diagnosed with intractable epilepsy
  • 2019 – bill approved by House of Representatives to reduce possession of up to one ounce from Class B to Class C misdemeanour but this was stopped by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick from reaching the Senate
  • 2019 – the qualifying conditions for eligible treatment expanded from epilepsy to include terminal cancer, autism, MS, ALS, seizure disorders and incurable neurological disorders

Get Your Medical Card

Connect with a licensed physician online in minutes.

Current Texas Medical Marijuana Laws

Possession of up to two ounces is currently a class B misdemeanour and carries up to 180 days in prison, a $2000 fine and the suspension of an individual’s driver’s license. However, many municipalities have more lenient penalties in place.

Useful Links

To find out more about getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Texas, get in touch with the expert Leafwell team today or use any of these verified resources below: