Medical Marijuana


Medical marijuana use is legal in Texas! In 2015, the 84th Texas Legislative Session enacted the Texas Compassionate Use Act (Senate Bill 339) requiring the Department of Public Safety create a secure registry of physicians treating intractable epilepsy patients with low-THC cannabis.

In 2019, the 86th Texas Legislature expanded the program to include additional medical conditions and physician specialties for which low-THC cannabis may be prescribed (House Bill 3703). So how do you get your hands on that magic green stuff?

Who Can Use Medical Marijuana?

There are certain qualifications required before you may obtain a medical marijuana prescription. First, you must be a permanent resident of Texas. Next, your doctor must be qualified to prescribe medical marijuana, and he must determine that the risk of you using medical marijuana is reasonable. Finally, you must have a qualifying condition, such as ALS, autism, epilepsy, or terminal cancer. The list of qualifying conditions was expanded in 2019. Prior to this expansion, only individuals diagnosed with intractable epilepsy could obtain a medical marijuana prescription.

Prescription of Low-THC Cannabis – Tex. Occ. Code §169.003

Don’t Roll a Fat One Just Yet…

Before you bust out your rolling papers and lighter, it is still illegal to roll a joint and smoke it in Texas. Medical marijuana is made to be ingested, rather than smoked. In fact, the term “medical use” means “the ingestion by a means of administration other than by smoking.”

Definitions – Tex. Occ. Code §169.001(4)

Currently, dispensaries are distributing medical marijuana in pill form and in a liquid to be used with a dropper.

Who Can Prescribe Medical Marijuana?

For a physician to become eligible to prescribe medical marijuana in Texas, the physician first must register in the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas. This is maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety. The physician can register by sending in application to Texas Department of Public Safety. In her application, the physician must include proof of one or more board certifications in a medical specialty relevant to the treatment of each patient’s particular medical condition by a specialty board approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties or the Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists.

Low-THC Cannabis Prescriber Registration – Tex. Occ. Code §169.004

How Do I Find a  Medical Marijuana prescriber?

The Texas Department of Public Safety maintains a registry that can be found on its website. It allows a search for physicians by county, city, or ZIP Code.

If there is not a registered Medical Marijuana prescriber near you, run a quick search in the registry in a neighboring county, then contact that physician to ask about a virtual consult. If that is not possible, you may need to travel for your appointment.

Not Your Mother’s Pharmacy…

Not surprisingly, you can’t just go out to your local corner pharmacy and fill your prescription for medical marijuana. Your physician will instead put your prescription into the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas system. You will need to contact one of the 3 dispensaries licensed to distribute medical marijuana in Texas. Many of them provide shipping so you don’t have to live near the dispensary to get your prescription.

What does that mean for you? You will need to monitor your condition and make sure you refill your prescription with enough lead time to factor in the time spent shipping your prescription to you since many Texans that do not yet have the luxury of living near a medical marijuana dispensary.

Will I Receive a Medical Marijuana Card?

No. The Texas Department of Public Safety maintains an online registry. No need for a card to keep track of! That means if you are ever stopped by a police officer and have your prescription marijuana with you, let the officer know you’re in the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas and the officer can look you up. Your identifying information will be in the registry and can be matched to your photo identification card or driver’s license.

–Authored by Amanda E. Carter, Esq.

 Matthew Harris Law, PLLC – Family Law Division

1101 Broadway, Lubbock, Texas, 79401

Tel: (806) 702-4852 | Fax: (800) 985-9479

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