Licensed cannabis cultivation in Ellis County is legal only for low-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis crops intended for medical purposes according to Chapter 487 of the Texas Health and Safety Code or the 2015 Texas Compassionate Use Act, with 2019 and 2021 addendums. The definition of low-THC cannabis in the Texas Occupations Code’s Chapter 169 is a cannabis plant with a THC content of 1% or less based on weight. All counties and municipalities in the State of Texas are prohibited by Section 487.201 of the Texas Compassionate Use Act to ban the cultivation of low-THC medical cannabis.
The medical cannabis Compassionate Use Program (CUP) was created by the Texas Compassionate Use Act within the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). The DPS Regulatory Services Division (RSD) regulates and licenses medical cannabis for the CUP.
The RSD grants only one type of medical cannabis license – the medical cannabis dispensing organization license. The license holder is allowed by Chapter 12 of the Texas Administrative Code to cultivate low-THC medical cannabis crops, manufacture low-THC medical cannabis products, and sell by retail the usable low-THC medical cannabis plant parts and products to patients registered in the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT) and their registered legal guardians. On April 28, 2023, however, applications for the medical cannabis dispensing organization license closed.
Licensed medical cannabis dispensing organization owners, officers, and personnel must all be DPS-registered. There must be a distance of not less than 1,000 feet between any licensed medical cannabis dispensing organization facility and a daycare center or school.
The licensed cultivation of low-THC medical cannabis must comply with Title 4 Part 1 of the Texas Department of Agriculture Administrative Code and all applicable sections of the Texas Agriculture Code. Cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and storage must be indoors, within a fully enclosed building with a locked metal door, burglar-proof windows, and a continuously running system for fire and security equipped with sensors, alarms, and video surveillance with recorded footage kept for a minimum of 90 days. This system must be compliant with the standards of the county or municipality and must instantly alert the authorities in case of an emergency. It must be able to work for at least five minutes more if there is a power outage.
Once the licensed medical cannabis dispensing organization facility’s business hours are over, the public must not be able to view medical cannabis of any kind. Access to cultivation and manufacturing facilities during business hours must be restricted to authorized personnel and permitted guests. Such guests must be logged in and out, be made to wear badges, and be escorted by facility staff throughout their visit.
If the licensed medical cannabis dispensing organization facility is in a building with other tenants, it must not have an entrance that is shared with any other establishment. All possible entry points must be barred, including those that go through the roof and ceiling.
All low-THC medical cannabis plants, products, and waste must be monitored closely and documented in an inventory system. Proper medical cannabis waste disposal is the responsibility of the licensee.
Licensed cannabis product manufacturing in Ellis County is legal only for low-THC medical cannabis products as mandated by the expanded Compassionate Use Act of the State of Texas. No county or municipality in the state may prohibit this.
Only medical cannabis dispensing organizations licensed by the DPS RSD are allowed to manufacture low-THC medical cannabis products.
Apart from the previously mentioned requirements, the Texas Administrative Code Chapter 12.7 states that licensed low-THC medical cannabis product manufacturing must comply with the following rules:
They must abide by the county’s safety, fire, and building codes.
They are only allowed to use potable water in low-THC medical cannabis product manufacturing.
They must employ only people who are registered with the DPS and trained in medical cannabis extraction to do that task.
They must use only a safe medical cannabis extraction system meant for commercial use and backed by sound engineering standards.
They must have a DPS-authorized laboratory test random samples from each low-THC medical cannabis product batch they produce to determine THC and cannabidiol (CBD) content.
They must use only packaging that is child-proof for all their low-THC medical cannabis products.
Licensed cannabis retail in Ellis County is legal only for low-THC medical cannabis and low-THC medical cannabis products sold to patients registered in the CURT or their CURT-registered legal guardians as stipulated by the State of Texas Compassionate Use Act, as expanded. The Act forbids counties and municipalities statewide from prohibiting this.
Only DPS RSD-licensed medical cannabis dispensing organizations are authorized to sell low-THC medical cannabis and low-THC medical cannabis products. All the requirements for medical cannabis dispensing organization licensees in general, as mentioned earlier, also apply.
For the retail facilities of licensed medical cannabis dispensing organizations specifically, the CCTV camera must be placed, if possible, in a spot where it can identify the purchasing CURT-registered patient or legal guardian.
Texas Occupations Code Chapter 169 Sec. 169.001 does not include smoking in the allowed methods of administration of medical cannabis. Hence, smokable forms of low-THC medical cannabis are not allowed for sale. All other forms are allowed for retail, provided their THC content does not exceed 0.5% and their CBD content does not fall below 10%. Examples of allowable low-THC medical cannabis products are edible goods, tinctures, oils, lozenges, and topical preparations, among others.
The duties of a licensed medical cannabis dispensing organization’s retail facility according to Sec. 487.107 of the Texas Compassionate Use Act, Chapter 12 of the Texas Administrative Code, and DPS rules are as follows:
Before every sale, the dispensary staff must ensure that:
The CURT-registered patient’s valid ID is presented, showing the patient’s last name, birth date, and last five Social Security Number digits
If a legal guardian is purchasing for a patient, the legal guardian must also present a valid ID showing the same information
Based on the information provided by the CURT-registered patient or legal guardian, they are verified as being registered on the online CURT
The quantity of the low-THC medical cannabis and low-THC medical cannabis products to be purchased corresponds to what is prescribed for the patient on the online CURT
The online CURT shows that the prescription has not yet been filled for the current period by another licensed dispensary
After every sale, the dispensary staff must ensure that the following information is posted on the CURT:
The purchase date and time
The form of low-THC medical cannabis and low-THC medical cannabis products purchased
The quantity of low-THC medical cannabis and low-THC medical cannabis products purchased
The prices of the low-THC medical cannabis and low-THC medical cannabis products purchased
Licensed cannabis delivery in Ellis County is legal only for low-THC medical cannabis and low-THC medical cannabis products delivered to CURT-registered patients and their registered legal guardians in accordance with the expanded Compassionate Use Act of the State of Texas.
Only medical cannabis dispensing organizations licensed by the DPS RSD are permitted to deliver low-THC medical cannabis and low-THC medical cannabis products provided they have complied with all above-mentioned requirements and rules.
According to Texas Administrative Rule §12.32, vehicles used by licensed dispensaries in delivering low-THC medical cannabis and low-THC medical cannabis products must have a locked internal compartment for securing the items, accessible only to authorized delivery personnel. The vehicle must also be equipped with a security system.
Before a delivery leaves the licensed dispensary, a trip plan must be drawn up containing the following:
The name of the DPS-registered delivery personnel
The date of the trip
The delivery destination and planned route
The invoice indicating the product type and quantity for delivery
The time the trip started
After every delivery, the licensed dispensary must log the following:
The time the trip ended
Changes made to the planned route, if any
Changes made to the product quantity delivered, if any
The State of Texas does not issue medical cannabis cards. Residents of Ellis County may, instead, be registered for free in the CURT by a CUP-registered physician after being diagnosed with at least one of the following illnesses:
Incurable neurodegenerative diseases
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
As of May 2023, the CURT physician search portal shows that there are two CUP-registered doctors in Ellis County.
The doctor will enter into the CURT the patient’s name, address, and last five Social Security Number digits. The same details of the patient’s appointed caregiver will also be entered. A patient who is younger than 18 will automatically require a caregiver who is a parent or legal guardian.
Once the patient or the caregiver has been registered, they may purchase low-THC medical cannabis and low-THC medical cannabis products from any licensed dispensary by presenting a valid ID showing their last name, birth date, and last five Social Security Number digits.
Inquiries may be directed to:
Texas Department of Public Safety
Compassionate Use Program - MSC 0240
PO Box 4087
Austin, TX 78773-0240
Landline: (512) 424-7293
There is no mention of any tax imposed on low-THC medical cannabis and low-THC medical cannabis products in the relevant laws of the State of Texas. The state, however, earns from fees charged to medical cannabis dispensing organization applicants and licensees, set by Texas Administrative Code RULE §12.14 as follows:
Application fee: $7,356
License fee for the two-year license: $488,520
Renewal fee for the two-year license: $318,511
Registration fee: $530
Registration renewal fee: $530
There have been only three licensed medical cannabis dispensing organizations in Texas from 2019 up to October 2022 as reported in the Annual Regulatory Report of the DPS for FY 2019, FY 2020, FY 2021, and FY 2022.
Medical cannabis was first legalized in Ellis County in 2015.
Data sent by the Ellis County Sheriff's Office to the FBI’s Crime Explorer page shows that in 2014, the year prior to medical cannabis legalization, there were 45 marijuana offense arrests, comprised of 40 arrests for possession and five arrests for sales.
In 2016, the year after medical cannabis legalization, there were 22 marijuana offense arrests, all for possession.
In 2019, there were 20 marijuana offense arrests, comprised of 17 arrests for possession and three arrests for sales.
The latest available data in 2021 shows two marijuana offense arrests, all for possession.
The number of DUI arrests was as follows in those years:
2014: 57 arrests
2016: 17 arrests
2019: 43 arrests
2021: 227 arrests