Houston’s first medical marijuana dispensary is now open in The Heights. So how do you qualify?

Texas legalized medical marijuana for certain patients years ago, but only on a very restricted basis.

Jeff Chiu, STF/Associated Press

Houston is finally home to a legal weed dispensary, but don’t get too excited just yet — it’s restricted to people with medical prescriptions, which can only be given to people with specific ailments. So who can get a prescription?

Texas Original, a chain of medical marijuana dispensaries across Texas, opened this week at 1714 Houston Ave., offering people with prescriptions an easier way to get a range of legal marijuana products, according to Evan MacDonald of ReNew Houston. The business is the first of its kind in the city of Bayou and the first Texas Original storefront open five days a week, offering next day pickup for customers.

The dispensary is strictly for those authorized under the Lone Star State’s Compassionate Use Program, which requires a diagnosis of a certain disease or condition and a prescription from a physician. The law currently only allows prescriptions for a handful of medical conditions, including: ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, cancer or post-traumatic stress disorder.

There were deliberations in the Texas Legislature last year about adding chronic pain sufferers to the list, but the measure fell through. To complicate matters further, the law only allows low-THC cannabis prescriptions. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The state currently only allows cannabis products that contain 1% or less THC.

The state of Texas requires a specialist to confirm the diagnosis, which means your primary care physician likely won’t be able to complete the script. In addition, a second doctor is needed to corroborate the first specialist’s diagnosis. Both must also be on the Texas State Compassionate Use Registry. According to Timothy Fanning of the San Antonio Express-News, there are currently fewer than 200 doctors certified to write such prescriptions statewide.

The state hosts this online directory to help you find a doctor licensed to help with a diagnosis and obtain a prescription. There are dozens of them in Houston.



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