Yes. The cultivation of cannabis is legal in Cameron County, but only for medical marijuana use. Adult-use cannabis is still illegal in Texas. Under the Texas Compassionate-Use program, licensed physicians are permitted to prescribe low-THC cannabis to eligible patients with certain medical conditions.
Section 169.001 of the Compassionate-Use Program defines low-THC cannabis as the plant Cannabis sativa L., a compound or part of the plant consisting of not exceeding 1% by weight of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. Medical cannabis use in Cameron County and Texas is limited to low-level THC in prescribed doses. In addition, smoking cannabis is prohibited.
Meanwhile, Chapter 12, subchapter B of the Texas Administrative Code states that licensed dispensing organizations may only grow low-THC cannabis if they have experience in analytical laboratory methods, organic chemistry and microbiology, and cultivation. The law also states that low-THC cannabis must be grown in safe and enclosed facilities and must not be open to the public.
Yes, cannabis manufacturing is legal in Cameron County. Cannabis manufacturers must first register with the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration in order to manufacture, possess, distribute, dispense, or analyze cannabis. This is pursuant to the Texas Controlled Substances Act. The Texas Health and Safety Code regulates the manufacturing of low-THC cannabis for medical purposes. Counties, municipalities, and other political divisions cannot ban the cultivation and production of cannabis.
Manufacturers are required to allow the entry of security officers or members of the Texas Department of Public Safety to conduct random inspections and audits of the records of sales and purchases. Manufacturers must also maintain records and inventories to comply with recordkeeping requirements under federal law and additional regulations issued by the agency. Also, Administrative Regulation 12.7 states that all establishments must be at least 1,000 feet away from daycare centers and schools that existed prior to the date of license application.
For cannabis manufacturing businesses to operate, the Texas Compassionate-Use Act lists the following requirements under Section 487.102:
Ability to take responsibility for the raw materials, by-products, and final products used and manufactured during the cultivation and production of low-THC cannabis to prevent illegal access to these products and materials
Financial capacity to support and maintain operations for at least two years from the license application date
Technical and technological capacity to grow and produce low-THC cannabis
Ability to secure all staff, resources, and facilities in accessible locations that allow access for qualified patients to enter the dispensing organizations
Yes, cannabis retail is allowed in Cameron County, but only for low-THC medical cannabis. A medical marijuana dispensary must be at least 1,000 feet away from a daycare, public or private school that has been existing before the date of license application. Directors, managers, and staff must be registered with the Compassionate-Use Registry of Texas. They will also be fingerprinted as part of a background check.
Moreover, Section 487.107 of the Compassionate-Use Act states that before dispensing low-THC cannabis to authorized patients, dispensaries must verify that the prescription:
Has the names of people listed under the compassionate-use registry
Matches the total dose or amount of low-THC cannabis to be filled with the details found in the compassionate-use registry
Is not already filled in by another dispensary in accordance with the compassionate-use registry
Once low-THC cannabis has been dispensed to qualified patients, dispensaries must record all necessary details in the compassionate-use registry, such as the date, time, and amount of low-THC cannabis dispensed. As previously mentioned, cannabis is only legal in Cameron County for medical purposes, and legal forms of cannabis include edibles. No other forms of cannabis, including oils or those for smoking, are permitted for sale.
Cannabis delivery for medical marijuana patients is prohibited. According to Texas Administrative Code Chapter 12, Subchapter A, delivery or transportation of low-THC cannabis and cannabis plants among dispensing organizations is allowed. As of date, there are only three approved dispensing organizations in Texas.
In addition, Texas Controlled Substances Act Section 481.120 states that it is a crime to deliver marijuana even to a qualified patient. Only low-THC cannabis prescriptions are allowed to be delivered by licensed dispensaries in Texas.
Cameron County and Texas do not issue medical marijuana ID cards. Instead, patients should obtain a prescription from a doctor enrolled in the Compassionate-Use Program. The Compassionate-Use Program was initially intended for patients with intractable epilepsy. However, Texas has since expanded its list of eligible medical conditions. Currently, the Texas Compassionate-Use program is open to patients with the following health conditions listed in Texas Occupations Code, Section 169.003:
incurable neurodegenerative disease
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
post-traumatic stress disorder
To apply for the Compassionate-Use Program (CUP), patients may need to:
Search for a CUP-Registered Physician in Cameron County and submit proof of qualifying medical condition
Have your certifying doctor enter your prescription into the Compassionate-Use Registry of Texas (CURT).
Once your application is accepted and approved by the certifying doctor, go to a licensed dispensary to get your prescription
Patients may be prescribed low-THC cannabis if:
The patient lives in Texas
The patient has an eligible medical condition
The patient has been prescribed by a physician registered under the Compassionate-Use Program
That registered doctor says the benefits outweigh the risks
There is no age limit for Cameron County patients to obtain prescriptions for low-THC cannabis. Patients under the age of 18 shall require legal guardianship.
The dispensary requires patients to present a valid ID that includes their name, date of birth, age, and the last five digits of their Social Security Number.
To learn more about the Compassionate-Use Program registry, you may contact:
Texas Department of State Health Services
Community Health Improvement Division
Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Section
PO Box 149347 Austin, TX 78714-9347
1100 West 49th Street
Austin, TX 78756
Phone: (512) 458-7111
Texas currently does not levy a sales tax on medical marijuana, and recreational marijuana use is still illegal in the state. However, Texas collects application and licensing fees from medical marijuana dispensaries.
A June 2021 poll regarding the legalization of recreational marijuana conducted by the University of Texas at Austin resulted as follows:
13% believed that possession of marijuana must not be legal under any circumstances
27% believed that possession of marijuana should be for legal use only
31% believed that possessing small amounts of marijuana for any purpose must be allowed, and
29% believed that possessing any amount of marijuana for any purpose must be allowed
While there is news that Texan lawmakers are proposing to legalize recreational marijuana in the state, it is yet to be seen whether the majority of Texan voters approve of it. If the state finally supports and implements laws on recreational marijuana, its sales and revenues will definitely contribute more to the economy.
The FBI crime report shows that the data from Cameron County Sheriff's Office presents a decreasing number of DUI cases for the years 2014, 2015, and 2016, from 19 to 13, and 5 arrests, respectively. Meanwhile, the number of drug possession cases for 2014, 2015, and 2016 increased from 172 to 222, and 237 arrests, respectively.
Note that the use of low-THC medical cannabis was legalized in Texas in 2015.