Dispensaries, patients anticipate future of medical marijuana in Texas

When their daughter, Catherine, was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy at three years old, Terri Carriker and her husband were desperate to find something that would treat her seizures. After multiple treatments failed, and only a few treatment options were left, they sought a less conventional alternative.

Now 15 years old, Catherine has been taking a hemp-based CBD oil for just over a year to alleviate her symptoms.

“We became felons,” Carriker said. “I say that laughingly (now), but it wasn’t without some stress, worrying about (Child Protective Services) knocking at your door.”

Carriker, who had the CBD oil delivered to their home in Austin, is excited to finally be able to legally obtain the medicine that’s been helping her daughter for years.

As a “Conservative, Christian, suburban mom,” fighting for inclusive medicinal marijuana isn’t something Carriker saw herself being apart of. After learning about it and seeing its benefits firsthand, she said she experienced a change of heart.

“Medical marijuana was way off out of my purview,” Carriker said. “I was very quickly convinced that it should be available for any patient that could benefit from it.”

During the 2015 legislative session, Gov. Greg Abbott signed the Texas Compassionate Use Program, legalizing the use of medicinal marijuana for specific diseases. Compassionate Cultivation received their license to grow, sell and distribute medical marijuana on Oct. 31, making them one of only three dispensaries that can legally do so in the state of Texas. The company plans to start selling CBD cannabinoid oil by the end of January 2018.

Compassionate Cultivation and the other Texas dispensaries are only licensed to grow plants with low levels of the psychoactive compound THC and high levels of CBD, a non-psychoactive component. The plants will be compressed with liquid carbon dioxide and refined to a digestible oil

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