Every state and their mother are looking to implement legal marijuana programs. While some of these states are more-or-less rolling out the red carpet for cannabis business people, others (cough, cough, New York) have put a hundred hoops made of red tape between entrepreneurs and legal weed. In true Texas fashion, the Lone Star state may have just put up the biggest, lamest hoop that any US state has so far fashioned.
Texas is fixing to add a stipulation to their Texas Compassionate Use Program that would raise licensing fees an unbelievable 22,000%, from $6,000 to $1.3 million, as reported by the Denver Post. Texas’s extremely limited MMJ program would provide patients suffering from intractable epilepsy with CBD oil.
The system has not been implemented yet. It’s set to start accepting dispensary applications in June of 2017. The reasons for the mind-boggling upcharge are listed on the Texas Department of Public Safety website [formatting is that of Dabs Mag]:
“Most notably, the fees reflect the recommendations of executive leadership that (1) the estimated number of licenses be reduced from twelve to three; and (2) based on security and safety concerns the presence of DPS troopers is required on the premises of the three dispensing organizations seven days a week.
“The latter recommendation is estimated to cost approximately $1.2 million over the biennium. Additionally, a portion of the increase is based on the department’s more general recalculation of the costs associated with administering the program and new information gained from the vendor approval process regarding the costs of the registry software development and maintenance. The total estimated cost for administration of the program is approximately $4.4 million over the biennium.”
You can see they’re really going all out to give Texas medical marijuana patients the very best. Why else would you instate a $4.4 million program of (supposedly, we guess) really, really expensive software and no less than three constant on site supervisors to every dispensary, a practice unheard of to our knowledge any private business in the entire country.
You can also tell that the writers of Senate Bill 339 have the best interests of the state’s patients at heart by making sure that there are only three suppliers of their much-needed medicine, ensuring stability in the market (or what some economists would call an oligopoly). But some marijuana advocates, believe it or not, are critical of the proposed rules.
Marijuana Policy Project’s state executive director Heather Fazio says the new stipulations would likely hike prices and diminish patients’ access to CBD oil, in addition to some other problems. “Some of the other provisions requires self-incrimination with regards to where cannabis seeds are coming from,” Fazio told the Post.
We’re beginning to think these stipulations signal a little bit of half-heartedness on the part of state lawmakers.
Photo via Flickr user Ray Bodden