Potter County only allows the medical use of low-tetrahydrocannabinol (low-THC) cannabis, according to the state’s House Bill No. 1535. Low-THC cannabis, as defined in the same bill, includes any part of the plant Cannabis sativa L., as well as any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, preparation, resin, or oil of the plant that contains not more than 1% by weight of THC. Although medical marijuana use is legal, only licensed dispensaries may cultivate low-THC cannabis. This means that personal cultivation by Potter County residents remains illegal.
Outdoor cultivation is not allowed following the Texas Administrative Code Chapter 12. Instead, cultivation may only be done in an enclosed, secured facility or in an enclosure inside a facility that offers reasonable protection against the diversion of low-THC cannabis, raw materials used in its production, or by-products produced during its cultivation. Access to each area must be restricted to a minimum number of people or employees required for the licensee's operations. Only a licensee, director, manager, or registered employee operating in their official position may enter the enclosed, locked area. All licensed dispensaries must possess the technical and technological ability to cultivate low-THC cannabis in their approved locations. Furthermore, they should maintain accountability for all raw materials, finished products, and by-products used during cultivation.
Licensed dispensaries throughout the state are permitted to process or manufacture low-THC cannabis for medical use. Following the Texas Health and Safety Code’s Chapter 487, Potter County allows the manufacture of low-THC cannabis as this regulation prevents local counties from enforcing ordinances prohibiting its manufacture. Dispensaries must prove that they have the technical abilities to manufacture cannabis.
Relevant provisions under the Texas Administrative Code Chapter 12 and the Texas Agriculture Code guide these dispensaries in processing low-THC cannabis. Specifically, they must comply with the following:
Facilities must meet all required fire, safety, and building code requirements.
Potable water is the preferred solvent for extraction. A gas detection system must be installed when gaseous hydrocarbon-based solvents are used for extraction.
Representative samples must be tested for THC levels, residual solvents, pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, mold, and heavy metals.
Use a commercially-manufactured extraction system certified to be made under existing engineering standards.
A child-resistant packaging with an appropriate label must be used to store all products.
Unauthorized access to processing areas must be prevented at all times. Licensed dispensaries are advised to have adequate security, alarm, and surveillance systems. Additionally, windows are not allowed unless they are shatter resistant, burglar-proof, or reinforced with metal bars to prevent unauthorized entry.
Three licensed dispensaries operate throughout Texas as of February 2023. Although these are not located in Potter County, qualified patients have access to low-THC products, including edibles, beverages, gummies, lozenges, tinctures, and lotions through the pick-up locations and delivery services offered by these dispensaries.
Before dispensing, employees are responsible for verifying that the prescription presented is for the customer. This may be done by checking if the customer is registered with the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT). In cases where patients are unable to purchase their prescriptions on their own, registered caregivers may purchase low-THC cannabis on their behalf. The dose indicated in the prescription should match the recorded dose of the low-THC product to be dispensed in the CURT. Additionally, the prescription should not have been previously filled by another dispensary. After dispensing, the amount of products dispensed and the date and time of dispensation must be recorded in the CURT by the employee.
Although limited dispensaries are licensed to operate in Texas, these offer delivery services to ensure statewide access to low-THC cannabis products. Potter County qualified patients may place their orders in advance online or through call.
Vehicles used by dispensaries are required to be equipped with security systems and a securely attached and locked container for low-THC products. Patients are required to present a valid identification card during delivery. If not available, a registered caregiver with a valid identification card may receive the delivery on behalf of the patient.
Medical marijuana cards are not available for Potter County patients since the state does not provide one. To ensure access to low-THC marijuana, patients are advised to follow these steps:
Search for a CURT-registered physician who may prescribe low-THC marijuana.
Patients must have any of the following conditions stated in Texas Occupations Code Section 169.003 as evaluated by the physician: autism, epilepsy or any seizure disorder, multiple sclerosis, cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, spasticity, and incurable neurodegenerative disease.
If the benefits of using low-THC outweigh the risks, the patient’s prescription will be entered by the physician in the CURT and accessible to dispensaries.
These services are only available for permanent residents of Texas. For other inquiries, Potter County residents may call the Texas Department of Public Safety at (512) 424-7293. A mail may also be sent to:
Texas Department of Public Safety
Compassionate Use Program - MSC 0240
PO Box 4087
Austin, TX 78773-0240
Following state laws and regulations, Potter County does not impose a tax on low-THC cannabis sales. Fees related to the application and licensing of dispensaries are the only source of income for the state. These include an application fee of $7,356, a license fee with a two-year validity worth $488,520, a renewal fee of $318,511, and a registration fee for both initial registration and renewal amounting to $530.
The medical use of low-THC cannabis became legal in Potter County when Texas approved its use in 2015. Based on the available report of the Potter County Sheriff's Office on the FBI Crime Data Explorer, marijuana possession offenses in the county have significantly decreased from 2014 to 2021 – 89 arrests vs. 1. Additionally, arrests for marijuana drug sale offenses decreased from four in 2014 to none in 2021.