History has been made as a Florida company won the first Texas license for growing, processing and selling a form of medical marijuana. Eventhough it is already approved, the medicine is only for patients suffering from a rare form of epilepsy.
A division of Florida-based Cansortium Holdings, Cansortium Texas, which sells medical cannabis under the Knox Medical brand, was awarded the license last Friday and will operate a facility on West U.S. 90 in Schulenburg.
Two other companies — Compassionate Cultivation, which is retrofitting a 7,200-square-foot warehouse in Manchaca with customized growing and processing equipment, and Surterra Texas, which will operate on Wells Branch Parkway in North Austin — are expected to be awarded state licenses soon after final reviews by the Texas Department of Public Safety, rounding out the three medical cannabis licenses that the agency has said it will issue.
The chief executive of privately held Cansortium Holdings, José Hidalgo, said he was “humbled” to receive the first Texas license, adding in an interview that Cansortium is committed “to establishing the industry and to becoming the most respected company in the medical cannabis space.” Cansortium already has medical cannabis licenses in Florida, Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico.
Eventhough the Texas licenses won’t equate to quick profits, the success in Texas over the long haul might depend as much on the Legislature as on business acumen. Cansortium and the two other companies expected to operate in Texas are facing strict state regulations that limit their customer bases solely to patients with intractable epilepsy and that constrain how they formulate their products — on top of investment costs running into the millions of dollars.
“It is safe to say that it is a challenging market,” said Morris Denton, chief executive of Compassionate Cultivation.
Denton said an initial goal for his company is to prove that medical marijuana can be dispensed safely in Texas and it is beneficial, with the aim of persuading state leaders to make it available to patients suffering from a wider variety of ailments for the years coming.
Hidalgo said Cansortium considers the market among Texas patients suffering from intractable epilepsy potentially lucrative enough and didn’t opt to expand into the state because of the prospect that additional medical conditions eventually will be made eligible. Yet, he said he considers it likely that future discussions among the state’s leaders regarding medical marijuana will revolve around “what conditions and for what reasons they are considering expanding” its availability.
“I think it remains to be seen what will happen (in Texas), but the evidence is out there,” Hidalgo said.
Proponents in Texas already are anticipating a major push during the next regular session of the Legislature in 2019 to try to increase patient access to medical cannabis. Some industry experts have said the Texas market for medical cannabis could rival California’s estimated $2.8 billion market, if restrictions are loosened and it becomes more widely available.
We feel that this license will definitely help patients since we saw that marijuana can stop seizures. How about you, what do you think? Is it better to have a company that grows marijuana in Texas? Let us know in the comments below.
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