Legal cannabis cultivation in Hays County is restricted to low-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis for medical use by the Texas Compassionate Use Act, or Chapter 487 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, passed in 2015 with addendums in 2019 and 2021. Chapter 169 of the Texas Occupations Code defines low-THC cannabis as having THC content not exceeding 1% according to weight. Section 487.201 of the Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 487 states that any county or municipality is prohibited from disallowing low-THC medical cannabis cultivation.
The Act created the Compassionate Use Program (CUP) under the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to manage all matters pertaining to medical cannabis. The Texas DPS CUP’s medical cannabis dispensing organization license must first be applied for by any low-THC medical cannabis cultivation company in Hays County. According to Chapter 12 of the Texas Administrative Code, the licensee will be authorized not just to cultivate low-THC medical cannabis but also to manufacture low-THC medical cannabis products and to sell both the medical cannabis and its products by retail. There is a $7,356 application fee. Applications will close on April 28, 2023.
Successful applicants will have to pay an initial license fee of $488,520 covering two years and a $318,511 renewal fee every two years thereafter. There is also a $530 registration fee for the initial license and every renewal.
Company owners, officials, and employees are required to register in the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT). Any licensed medical cannabis facility must be at least 1,000 feet away from any school or daycare establishment.
Licensed low-THC medical cannabis cultivation is only allowed indoors, with the entire building completely enclosed and secured with a mechanical lock complying with requirements for life safety. Furthermore, low-THC medical cannabis cultivation must be in conformance with the Texas Department of Agriculture Administrative Code Title 4 Part 1 and all relevant portions of the Texas Agriculture Code.
The storage of low-THC medical cannabis by licensed cultivators, processors, and dispensaries must be in a windowless room, except if the windows are barred with metal grates or have shatter-resistant glass impenetrable by burglars. If the building is shared with another business, the licensed low-THC medical cannabis premises must not have any shared entrances or any other possible points of entry from the other business, including through the roof or ceiling. After business hours, medical cannabis and its products must not be visible from outside the licensed medical cannabis facility.
All licensed medical cannabis business facilities must be kept locked except when authorized persons are coming in or going out. Visitors must be logged in and out, provided with visitors’ badges containing their name and the date of the visit, and must be accompanied by authorized personnel throughout their stay on the premises.
Every licensed medical cannabis business facility must be equipped with a fire and security system that complies with the county or city requirements and can immediately alert the relevant law enforcement and rescue authorities in the event of an emergency. The system must work continuously and provide at least five minutes of function even during a power outage. It must be equipped with video surveillance with footage stored for not less than 90 days, motion sensors, door switches, and fire and smoke alarms. Lighting in the exterior of the facility must be adequate for video surveillance.
A low-THC medical cannabis business licensee is required to maintain an inventory system that closely monitors all of its medical cannabis plants, manufactured products, and waste materials. The licensee is accountable for properly disposing of any medical cannabis waste.
Legal cannabis manufacturing in Hays County is restricted to low-THC cannabis products for medical use by the Texas Compassionate Use Act. Chapter 487 Section 487.201 of the Texas Health and Safety Code forbids counties and municipalities from prohibiting licensed low-THC medical cannabis product manufacturing.
The Texas DPS CUP’s medical cannabis dispensing organization license is also needed by a low-THC medical cannabis manufacturing company in Hays County. The same application requirements and procedures and licensee regulations apply as those for licensed low-THC medical cannabis cultivators.
In addition, Chapter 12.7 of the Texas Administrative Code lists the following rules covering licensed low-THC medical cannabis manufacturing:
All county codes for buildings, fire, and safety must be complied with by licensed medical cannabis manufacturers.
Only potable water may be used in the manufacturing of low-THC medical cannabis products by licensed medical cannabis manufacturers.
Only individuals properly trained and registered to extract medical cannabis may be employed for that task by licensed medical cannabis manufacturers.
Only a safe system for medical cannabis extraction designed for commercial application using established principles of engineering may be used by licensed medical cannabis manufacturers.
Random samples from every batch of low-THC medical cannabis items produced by licensed medical cannabis manufacturers must be tested by authorized testing laboratories for THC and cannabidiol (CBD) concentrations.
Only childproof packaging may be used for all low-THC medical cannabis products by licensed medical cannabis manufacturers.
Cannabis retail selling in Hays County is legal, but limited to low-THC cannabis and low-THC cannabis products for medical use by the Texas Compassionate Use Act. Section 487.201 of Chapter 487 of the Texas Health and Safety Code does not allow a county or municipality to ban licensed low-THC medical cannabis dispensing organizations. These licensed low-THC medical cannabis dispensing organization facilities are only allowed to sell to patients or their legal guardians, who must all be enrolled in the CURT.
The Texas DPS CUP’s medical cannabis dispensing organization license is likewise required of a low-THC medical cannabis retail company in Hays County. The same requirements and procedures for application and regulations for licensees apply as those for licensed low-THC medical cannabis cultivators and manufacturers. In addition, whenever applicable, the surveillance camera of the dispensing facility in the sales area must be positioned to capture the identifiable image of the purchasing patient or legal guardian.
Except for any form of smokable cannabis, which the Texas Occupations Code Chapter 169 does not consider as medical use, all other types of low-THC medical cannabis and its products with not more than 0.5% THC and not less than 10% CBD content may be sold by licensed medical cannabis dispensing organizations by retail. These include, among others, oils, tinctures, lozenges, edible products, and topical formulations.
The dispensary facility of a licensed medical cannabis dispensing organization must strictly fulfill these duties:
The following must be validated by the dispensary personnel before every medical cannabis sale:
The identity of the purchasing patient or legal guardian must be checked against their valid government-issued ID.
The registration of the purchasing patient or legal guardian on the CURT must be checked online.
The medical cannabis prescription for the patient for which the medical cannabis is being purchased must be checked on the CURT online.
The written order presented by the patient must be checked to match the prescription on the CURT online.
Previous purchases for the patient must be checked on the CURT online to verify that the prescription has not yet been filled for the current period.
The following must be logged on the CURT by the dispensary personnel after every medical cannabis sale:
The date and time of the sale must be recorded.
The quantity of any low-THC medical cannabis and low-THC medical cannabis products sold must be recorded.
Cannabis delivery in Hays County is limited by the Texas Compassionate Use Act to the delivery of low-THC cannabis and low-THC cannabis products for medical use by licensed medical cannabis dispensing organizations to CURT patients or their registered legal guardians. The Texas Health and Safety Code’s Chapter 487 Section 487.201 mandates that all counties and municipalities must allow this.
CURT-registered patients and their legal guardians who have difficulty going to a retail facility of a licensed medical cannabis dispensing organization may order low-THC cannabis and low-THC cannabis products online or through a phone call, for delivery. The licensed dispensary is mandated to check the purchaser’s CURT registration and prescription online. Before handing over the delivery, the licensed dispensary personnel must first verify the identity of the purchasing patient or legal guardian through a valid government-issued photo ID.
Hays County residents may apply for free registration in the CURT but, if approved, will not receive a physical medical marijuana card since the State of Texas does not issue it. Applicants must be permanent residents of the state and must be diagnosed to have any of the following illnesses by a CUP-registered physician:
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Any incurable neurodegenerative disease
The physician will post the prescription for the patient on the CURT. If the patient is a minor, the patient’s legal guardian will be named by the physician in the CURT. The last 5 digits of the patient’s and legal guardian’s Social Security Number will also be entered into the CURT. Law enforcement agencies in Texas will have access to these data.
Once the application has been approved, the adult patient or the legal guardian of a minor patient may purchase medical cannabis from a licensed medical cannabis dispensary by showing a valid government-issued photo ID that contains their full name, date of birth, and the last 5 digits of their Social Security Number.
Further information may be requested from:
Texas Department of Public Safety
Compassionate Use Program - MSC 0240
PO Box 4087
Austin, TX 78773-0240
Landline: (512) 424-7293
Low-THC medical cannabis is not subject to sales taxes, according to the Texas Compassionate Use Act. The State of Texas only earns from application, registration, and license fees of low-THC medical cannabis dispensing organizations. According to the Texas DPS Annual Regulatory Report for FY 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022, there were three low-THC medical cannabis dispensing organizations in the state in those years.
Medical cannabis was legalized in 2015 in Hays County.
Data from the Hays County Sheriff's Office on the FBI’s Crime Explorer page shows that a year before medical cannabis legalization, in 2014, there were 45 marijuana offense arrests, with 31 for possession and 14 for manufacturing or sales.
A year after medical cannabis legislation, in 2016, there were 97 marijuana offense arrests, with 92 for possession and 5 for manufacturing or sales.
In the latest available data, in 2021, there were 76 marijuana offense arrests, with 72 for possession and 4 for manufacturing or sales.
The following were the DUI arrests in those years:
2014: 91 arrests
2016: 118 arrests
2021: 171 arrests