The Texas Department of Pubic Safety has abruptly suspended the medical cannabis application process without an explanation just one week after it had opened it up, the Texas Tribune reports. The agency had indicated it would accept applications from Oct. 1 through Nov. 1.
“The Department’s Compassionate Use Program is not accepting applications at this time,” the department’s website says.
“The department will continue to assess dispensing capacity requirements, along with the need for any additional licenses, as we work through recent legislative changes to the program.” – A DPS spokesperson, in an email to the Tribune
In 2017, just three companies were approved to dispense medical cannabis in the state out of 43 that applied. Only Surterra Texas, Cansortium Texas, and Compassionate Cultivation were approved by DPS in the first application round two years ago.
Jax Finkel, executive director of Texas NORML, said it was a “concerning” move by the agency, and that doctors, patients, and the general public were given “no notice and no clear communication.”
State Rep. Stephanie Klick (R), who sponsored the measure to expand the state’s medical cannabis law last session, said the delay was “temporary.”
“Hang tight for now,” Klick told the Tribune. “This is likely just a temporary delay until we know which of the incurable neurodegenerative conditions are appropriate to be included on the list.”
Klick said that officials are trying to determine new patient count estimates after the state added incurable neurodegenerative diseases to the qualifying condition list, which she said could take months.
In May, lawmakers added seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), autism, terminal cancer, and incurable neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases to the state’s medical cannabis program.