Pubdate: Fri, 24 Nov 2017
Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Copyright: 2017 Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Author: Anna M. Tinsley


In just a few weeks, medical marijuana will legally be sold in

The plants are nearly finished growing in South-Central Texas, which
means workers will soon harvest and cultivate them, drying them out
and preparing to extract low-level cannibidiol.

Once that medicine is in a liquid form, and packaged in drops, the
first sales of medical marijuana -- geared to help Texans with
intractable epilepsy -- will occur before the end of this year.

"It's very, very exciting," said Jose Hidalgo, chief executive officer
of Cansortium Holdings, the Florida-based parent company of Cansortium
Texas. "Nothing in life ever goes as planned.

"But so far, this has gone as well as it could."

Cansortium Texas, one of three companies licensed to grow and sell
medical marijuana in Texas, is poised to be the first company to get
the product on the market.

Officials believe they are still on track to deliver medications
directly to patients across the state starting the third or fourth
week of December.

The medicine -- which contains the ingredient in a marijuana plant
that lets a patient get the medical benefits without the buzz -- would
be personally delivered to Texans by the company in white, unmarked
delivery vans that include built-in security measures.

A fleet of vehicles will be used to deliver medical marijuana to
customers across Texas.

Drivers will travel with a nurse or social worker who can answer any
questions patients have when deliveries are made, officials say.

The low-level cannabidiol will be sold under a 2015 law to help Texans
with intractable epilepsy if federally approved medication hasn't helped.

This culminates a lengthy process that began when the Texas
Legislature, led by state Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, approved
the Texas Compassionate Use Act to make use of cannabidiol legal for
at least some of the nearly 150,000 Texans estimated to have
intractable epilepsy.

Lawmakers have stressed this is an extremely limited form of medical
marijuana geared to let patients receive benefits without the high.
This medicine does not include THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is
the psychoactive ingredient that produces a high.

Other marijuana use -- for medical or recreation -- remains illegal in
Texas and more than a dozen other states. But it is legal, in one form
or another, in 29 states and the District of Columbia.

The first plants that will be harvested have been growing since
September on a 10-acre parcel of land in Schulenburg, a small
community east of San Antonio.

There, plants have grown inside MCPU's, or Moducular Cultivation and
Processing Units, with constant security.

"They look great," Hidalgo said. "We are toward the end of the growing
cycle. The plants should be harvested in the month of December."

This is the product after the marijuana plants are crushed, but before
the liquid is extracted.

Once the product is fully available, only certain doctors -- those
registered with the Compassionate Use Program -- may prescribe the
product to treat intractable epilepsy.

To get this medical marijuana, Texans must have a prescription and
then potentially pay between $45 and $90 for the medicine.

A look online at the company's Florida website cites prices for some
CBD products as $45 for one 300 milligram vape cartridge or sublingual
drops and $90 for a 600 milligram vape cartridge or sublingual drops.

"We understand the responsibility we have," Hidalgo said. "The last
thing we want to do is be too quick ... and set false expectations.
These patients have been waiting for this medicine for years. It has
been a long time coming. And we are almost ready."
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