Understanding Texas Medical Marijuana Laws and the Compassionate Use Program

Texas has established specific regulations regarding the use of medical marijuana through its Compassionate Use Program (CUP). This program allows qualified physicians to prescribe low-THC cannabis to patients with certain medical conditions. Under the Texas Compassionate-Use Act, low-THC cannabis is defined as containing “less than one percent by weight of tetrahydrocannabinols” and can be used in forms other than smoking.

The legal landscape of cannabis in Texas is governed by several statutes. The Texas Controlled Substances Act classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance, with tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) in penalty group 2 for criminal penalties. This Act makes both the delivery and possession of marijuana criminal offenses, with varying degrees of severity based on the amount possessed. Furthermore, delivering controlled substances, including marijuana, to individuals under 18 years of age is a criminal offense.

In the realm of federal law, the Department of Justice in 2018 rescinded earlier guidelines on federal marijuana enforcement policy, requiring U.S. Attorneys to enforce the laws enacted by Congress. This change highlights the ongoing tension between state and federal laws regarding cannabis use.

Patients in Texas may receive prescriptions for low-THC cannabis if they are permanent residents of Texas, have one of the specified medical conditions, and a CUP-registered physician prescribes it, deeming the benefits outweigh the risks. There is no age limit for these prescriptions.

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) administers the CUP in Texas, operating a secure online registry of qualified physicians who can prescribe low-THC cannabis for specific medical conditions. This registry is part of the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas.

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For further details on the legal aspects of medical marijuana in Texas, visit the Texas State Law Library’s guide on Cannabis & the Law and the Compassionate Use Program guide. Additionally, information about the recreational use of cannabis and its criminal penalties can be found on the Recreational Use page. For a comprehensive overview of the medical marijuana policies in Texas, refer to the official Texas Medical Marijuana page.

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