Austin medical marijuana firm has to relocate due to school proximity

The type of marijuana grown under the state’s medical cannabis law can’t get anybody high, but Texas regulators still don’t want it near school children — a policy one of the new medical cannabis companies has learned the hard way.

Surterra Texas is months behind the other two medical cannabis companies licensed in Texas — Compassionate Cultivation and Cansortium Texas — in terms of harvesting its first crop and bringing initial medicines to market, after it was found to be too close to a Northeast Austin preschool last August and was forced to relocate.

The company moved its operations to 6912 Hergotz Lane, an industrial area east of Interstate 35, and it didn’t receive its final state license to begin planting seeds until Dec. 15, compared to Sept. 1 for Cansortium Texas and Oct. 31 for Compassionate Cultivation. Both Cansortium and Compassionate Cultivation have been selling their cannabis-based medicine since early February, while Surterra says on its website that it “will soon be proudly supporting Texas patients” but is still growing its initial crop.

Surterra Texas, a division of Atlanta-based Surterra Wellness, didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.

The issue involving the company’s initial Austin location — which was on Wells Branch Parkway, slightly closer to Stepping Stone School than a requirement of 1,000 feet of distance from schools or day cares — surfaced in documents recently obtained by the American-Statesman through an open records request to the Texas Department of Public Safety. The open records request was originally filed more than five months ago.

The company has resisted releasing details of its operations, including its physical address. Among other contentions, a lawyer for Surterra argued to the Texas attorney general’s office in January that disclosing either its previous or its new address would undermine the company’s trade secrets regarding

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