Rep. Ron Reynolds has submitted House Bill 209 for consideration during the 86th Legislature regular session. The bill would create a comprehensive medical marijuana program in Texas. House Bill 209 would allow Texans with certain debilitating medical conditions to access medical marijuana treatment through state licensed dispensaries and to grow their own marijuana plants for personal use. The bill would create a licensing process for dispensaries and testing facilities.
Currently, Texas has a limited medical marijuana program that allows for low-THC, high-CBD marijuana products and state-regulated dispensing organizations. House Bill 209 would expand the list of qualifying conditions and remove the limits on THC and CBD.
“It’s time for Texas to join the other 33 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico, whom all have comprehensive public marijuana/cannabis programs,” said Rep. Ron Reynolds. “We should not be afraid or reluctant to explore new ways to provide compassionate care, cure diseases, and ease the pain and suffering of Texans, especially our veterans, critical care patients, and the elderly.”
On February 19, 2019, House Bill 209 was referred to the House Committee of Public Health. Additionally Senate Bill 90, an identical piece of legislation in the Senate, was referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on February 1, 2019.
The committees will both consider the bills, and after doing so they will likely issue reports on the bill to the respective legislature body at large. In a favorable report, the committee may recommend passage of the bill without amendments, recommend amendments to the bills, or substitute new bills for the original bills.
If the committees recommend both of the Bills, they will be placed on calendars for consideration by both the House and Senate, separately. If the Bills pass in both the House and the Senate, they will then go to Governor Greg Abbott, as one, for review and action. (The Legislative Process in Texas).
If Governor Abbott signs the Bill, it will become an act that would take effect on September 1, 2019, per the text of House Bill 209.
Texas Medical Marijuana License Opportunities
Cannabis testing facility – an entity licensed by the department under this chapter to analyze the safety and potency of medical cannabis.
Dispensing organization – an organization licensed by the department to cultivate, process, and dispense medical cannabis to a patient for whom medical use is recommended.
The regulating department, the Department of Public Safety, would be tasked with regulating how the number of licenses and permits will be distributed, as well as any and all fees associated with the program. However, House Bill 209 outlines that an application fee shall not exceed $2,500 and an annual license fee shall not exceed $5,000.
Texas Medical Marijuana Program Timeline
September 1, 2019 – House Bill 209 to take effect in Texas (if passed)
October 1, 2019 – Due Date for the Public Safety Director to adopt program regulations
December 1, 2019 – Qualifying patient or a caregiver may obtain medical cannabis from a dispensing organization by this date.
Begin Preparing for Texas Medical Marijuana Dispensary License Applications
It’s never too early to begin preparing for when the state expands their current medical marijuana program and opens applications for additional dispensing organizations. To learn all that will be involved in the application process and how to best prepare, download our Texas Dispensary Application Guide.
The guide provides a step-by-step checklist of over 100 action items to complete prior to submitting your application for a marijuana business license and covers topics such as financial planning, real estate tasks, staffing, and more.