Not only is licensed cannabis cultivation in Johnson County legal but all counties and municipalities in the State of Texas are also prohibited to ban it according to Section 487.201 of the Texas Compassionate Use Act of 2015, which is Chapter 487 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, and its subsequent amendments in 2019 and 2021. However, only low-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis meant for medical use is allowed by the Act. This means that the cannabis plant’s THC content by weight must be no more than 1% as stated in Section 169.001 of Chapter 169 of the Texas Occupations Code.
The medical cannabis dispensing organization license is the only type of license issued by the RSD. As mandated by Chapter 12 of the Texas Administrative Code, it already covers the licensee’s cultivation of low-THC medical cannabis plants, manufacturing of low-THC medical cannabis products, and retail selling of low-THC medical cannabis and its products to patients and caregivers who are registered in the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT). Applications have already closed, however, for the medical cannabis dispensing organization license as of April 28, 2023.
Registration with the DPS is required for the owners, executives, and staff of licensed medical cannabis dispensing organizations. A distance of 1,000 feet or more must be maintained between any licensed medical cannabis dispensing organization facility and a school or daycare establishment.
In cultivating low-THC medical cannabis crops, licensees must adhere to all relevant portions of the Texas Agriculture Code as well as the Texas Department of Agriculture Administrative Code Title 4 Part 1. They are only allowed to cultivate, manufacture, and store low-THC medical cannabis indoors, and the building must be completely enclosed, with barred windows and a locked metal door. They must continuously operate a fire and security system that has various types of sensors and alarms, as well as recorded video surveillance. Recordings must be saved for not less than 90 days. The fire and security system must comply with county or municipality requirements. It must be connected to the relevant authorities and be able to alert them of any emergency automatically. The system must also be able to run for five more minutes when a power outage occurs.
During the business hours of the licensed medical cannabis dispensing organization facility, access to cultivation and manufacturing areas must be allowed only for authorized employees. Whenever guests are allowed in, they must be logged in upon entry and departure, must wear a visitor’s badge, and be accompanied by an employee for the entire duration of their stay. After the facility’s business hours, any form of medical cannabis must be kept out of sight of the public.
A licensed medical cannabis dispensing organization facility is allowed to be in the same building as other types of businesses but is required to have its own entrance. There must be no access to it from any other part of the building, even through the ceiling or the roof.
Each licensed medical cannabis dispensing organization facility must have an inventory system that strictly monitors and documents all low-THC medical cannabis crops, manufactured products, and waste matter. All medical cannabis waste must be disposed of responsibly.
Not only is licensed low-THC medical cannabis product manufacturing in Johnson County legal but the amended Texas Compassionate Use Act also prohibits all counties and municipalities in the State of Texas from banning it. Low-THC medical cannabis product manufacturing can only be done by licensed medical cannabis dispensing organizations. Hence, all previously discussed requirements for licensed medical cannabis dispensing organizations apply.
Furthermore, low-THC medical cannabis product manufacturers must abide by the following rules of Chapter 12.7 of the Texas Administrative Code:
All county codes regarding buildings, fire, and safety must be complied with.
Low-THC medical cannabis product manufacturing must use only potable water.
Low-THC medical cannabis extraction must be done only by the licensed facility’s employees who are trained in doing it and are registered for it with the DPS.
Low-THC medical cannabis extraction must be done only using a commercial system that meets accepted standards of engineering.
The THC and cannabidiol (CBD) concentrations in every batch of low-THC medical cannabis products manufactured must be tested by a DPS-approved laboratory through random sampling.
All low-THC medical cannabis products manufactured must be packaged in containers that are child-proof.
Not only is the licensed retail selling of low-THC medical cannabis and low-THC medical cannabis products to patients and caregivers registered in the CURT legal in Johnson County but the amended Texas Compassionate Use Act also prohibits all counties and municipalities in the state to forbid it. Only licensed medical cannabis dispensing organizations are authorized to do such retail selling. All the requirements discussed earlier for licensed medical cannabis dispensing organizations, in general, are applicable.
Specific to the retail stores of licensed medical cannabis dispensing organizations, the surveillance camera’s location, whenever possible, must be able to identify the CURT-registered purchasing patient or caregiver.
The allowed low-THC medical cannabis modes of administration do not include smoking as stated by Sec. 169.001 of Texas Occupations Code Chapter 169. Therefore, any form of low-THC medical cannabis meant for smoking is excluded from retail sales. Any other form is allowed, as long as it contains not more than 0.5% THC and not less than 10% CBD. Some of these forms are oils, tinctures, lozenges, edible products, topicals, and others.
In compliance with DPS rules, Chapter 12 of the Texas Administrative Code, and Sec. 487.107 of the Texas Compassionate Use Act, the following duties must be strictly fulfilled by each licensed medical cannabis dispensary.
Before any sale:
Check the CURT-registered patient or caregiver’s valid ID for the holder’s last name, date of birth, and Social Security Number’s last five digits
Check online to verify that the ID holder is registered in the CURT
Check the registered patient’s CURT prescription online to ensure that the low-THC medical cannabis and low-THC medical cannabis products being purchased are within the allowed limits
Check the registered patient’s CURT prescription online to ensure that the prescribed amount for the current period has not yet been purchased \
After any sale:
Log into the CURT the date and time of the sale
Log into the CURT the form, quantity, and respective prices of the purchased low-THC medical cannabis and low-THC medical cannabis products
Only holders of the DPS RSD medical cannabis dispensing organization license are allowed to deliver to CURT-registered patients and caregivers the low-THC medical cannabis and low-THC medical cannabis products they purchased. Since all counties and municipalities in the state are prohibited from forbidding licensed medical cannabis dispensing organizations, they also cannot forbid licensed low-THC medical cannabis and low-THC medical cannabis delivery to registered purchasers.
Texas Administrative Rule §12.32 mandates that licensed medical cannabis dispensing organizations use only delivery vehicles with a security system and lockable compartment within them for medical cannabis storage. Only the facility’s delivery personnel must be able to access such compartments.
A trip plan containing the following data must be generated before any delivery:
The date of the delivery
The identity of the delivery staff registered with the DPS
The delivery invoice indicating the product type/s and amount/s
The delivery address and route plan
The time the delivery leaves the licensed dispensary
After any delivery, the licensed facility must:
Log into the CURT what time the delivery was made
Log into the CURT whatever changes were made to the route plan
Log into the CURT whatever changes were made to the product type/s and amount/s delivered
Johnson County residents will not be able to get a medical cannabis card because this is not being issued by the State of Texas. For them to be able to get low-THC medical cannabis treatment, they must find a CUP-registered doctor who will register them in the CURT for free after they are diagnosed with any of the qualifying ailments. There is one such doctor in Johnson County as of May 2023.
The qualifying illnesses are:
Incurable neurodegenerative diseases
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Post-traumatic stress disorder
The diagnosed patient’s name, address, birth date, and Social Security Number’s last five digits will be entered by the physician into the CURT. The physician will also indicate in the CURT the low-THC medical cannabis prescription for the patient. If a caregiver is needed, the same details of the assigned caregiver must also be entered. Patients who are below 18 require a caregiver who is either a parent or a legal guardian.
To purchase low-THC medical cannabis and low-THC medical cannabis products, the registered patient or caregiver need only present to a licensed medical cannabis dispensary a valid ID containing their name, date of birth, and Social Security Number’s last five digits.
More 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
The amended Texas Compassionate Use Act and other laws in the State of Texas relevant to low-THC medical cannabis and low-THC medical cannabis products do not mention taxation. However, revenues are earned by the state from application fees, license fees, and renewal fees from medical cannabis dispensing organizations. According to Texas Administrative Code RULE §12.14, these are the following:
$7,356 as the application fee
$488,520 as the license fee, valid for two years
$318,511 as the license renewal fee, also valid for two years
$530 as the registration fee
$530 as the registration renewal fee
Medical cannabis was legalized in Johnson County in 2015.
Data sent by the Johnson County Sheriff's Office to the FBI’s Crime Explorer page shows that in 2014, the year before the legalization of medical cannabis, there were 26 arrests for marijuana offenses, all for possession.
In 2016, the year after medical cannabis legalization, there were 43 marijuana offense arrests, also all for possession.
In 2019, there were 12 marijuana offense arrests, again all for possession.
The latest available data in 2021 shows also 12 marijuana offense arrests, still all for possession.
The number of DUI arrests was as follows in those years:
2014: 27 arrests
2016: 20 arrests
2019: 17 arrests
2021: 13 arrests