The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is opening an application process to license more medical cannabis dispensaries, the Dallas Morning News reports. Just three dispensaries have been licensed by the state in the past three years.
DPS officials have not indicated how many dispensaries they plan on adding and it’s unlikely a decision will be made before the summer in case lawmakers pass laws this session that change the number of dispensaries allowed, the report says.
Wayne Mueller, the chief of DPS’ regulatory services division, said in December that opening the licensing process will allow the agency to “help us gauge what the actual interest is” by would-be operators.
Two of the three dispensaries are now open in Austin and one in Schulenberg, which is about 100 miles west of San Antonio. In Texas, patients do not have access to traditional products, but rather those that are low in THC and high in CBD.
Nico Richardson, the acting CEO of Compassionate Cultivation, which is one of the three licensed cannabis businesses in the state, explained that adding new licensees may be premature and may not be helpful because licensed producers can only store products in the facility where it is manufactured.
“So if I want to serve a patient in El Paso, and my facility is in Austin, I have to send a driver to El Paso to deliver the product or give it to a patient at a pickup location in El Paso,” Richardson told the Morning News. “And whatever is not picked up has to be driven back… as soon as humanly possible.”
Last November, Mueller said he expects more than 100,000 patients will be enrolled in the medical cannabis program in the next 18 to 24 months, noting that over the previous 18 months, patient registrations have increased by an average of 10% month-over-month.
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