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What is the Texas Compassionate Use Program?

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

Over the past few years, Texas has moved at a slow but encouraging pace in the medical cannabis industry, and all signs point to 2023 being a watershed year for the state.

Starting the year, the state of Texas announced that the Regulatory Services Division (RSD) of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is accepting applications for dispensary licenses under the Compassionate Use Program (Compassionate Use Program).

This program was established in the state in 2015, however, it has been a matter of debate over the last few years for different reasons, among which are the limited list of accepted conditions and the little versatility of cannabinoids it allows.

In short, the Compassionate Use Program operates a secure online registry of qualified physicians who can prescribe a low level of THC (compound derived from the cannabis plant) to patients with specific medical conditions. This registry seeks to have a strict order on physicians in charge of prescribing medical cannabis within the state.

Law enforcement agencies and dispensing organizations can access this online registry to verify information if necessary. In turn, this program allows the physician to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the treatment of patients prescribed low-THC cannabis.

The Texas Compassionate Use Act also contemplates another concept that corresponds to the "qualified patient" who are those patients diagnosed with epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, autism, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), terminal cancer, spasticity and neurodegenerative diseases, who have formally enrolled in the program.

Finally, with the recent news, this program seeks to integrate licenses to distribution organizations such as dispensaries, so that they can provide low-THC cannabis to qualified patients. To apply for a license, one must fill out form CUP-101, submit the requested documents and pay a fee of $7,356. The DPS will then review the application for license approval.

It should be noted that as of December 2022, 43,056 patients had enrolled in the Compassionate Use Program and that the DPS announced that it will issue only the number of licenses necessary to ensure reasonable access throughout the state and the availability of low-THC cannabis for patients enrolled in the compassionate use registry. In addition, this process has a deadline and the department will only be accepting applications until April 28.

This development benefits all parties involved, for example, patients will be able to have a list of dispensary options that are broader and more accessible to their residence to obtain their medication safely, and in this way, physicians ensure that patients can obtain the prescription more comfortably; and on the other hand, it boosts the medical cannabis industry through new establishments in the state.

If you are interested in learning more about the Compassionate Use Program in Texas and how to apply for licenses and opportunities, register for the Pharmacology University seminar on April 8 and let experts with more than 15 years of experience guide you step-by-step through your application!

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