The State of Texas has awarded provisional licenses to three facilities allowing them to grow, process and sell low THC cannabis to people with a specific medical condition.
The Texas Compassionate Use Act of 2015 allows epilepsy patients, who have not responded to other medications, to purchase cannabis oil with a prescription.
Compassionate Cultivation is one of three companies that will soon sell CBD oil. It is the only company preliminarily licensed by the Texas Department of Public Safety that operates strictly in Texas.
The other two are from Florida.
Compassionate Cultivation won't start growing marijuana until after final approval, but Thursday they showed FOX 7 what to expect in the weeks to come.
“Well, we've got a purpose-built, customized grow facility that we tailored specifically to be able to produce the highest quality consistent medicine that we can get into the hands of people who are suffering with intractable epilepsy,” said Morris Denton, CEO of Compassionate Cultivation
Denton explained the science behind his brand new, state-of-the-art medical marijuana dispensary. The highly secured building has been designed to accelerate grow time of marijuana plants in a controllable environment.
The first stop in Denton’s tour is the vegetative room.
“Basically, this is where it all begins. This is where it all begins for us, it's where it all begins for the State of Texas and for the people that hope this medicine can change their lives,” said Denton.
Details are important during the vegetative process, from the hoses that will deliver water to each plant to the height and color of each light in the room.
“Well the lights that are green right now are green because it's simulating night time for the plants,” Denton said. Each room in the facility has to be maintained at a different temperature and humidity.
“So the next thing is, after you spend a little bit of time, roughly 30 days in here, then you go into one of our flower rooms,” said Denton.
“And the plant will stay in here roughly between 45 and 60 days,” he added.
Marijuana plants contain hundreds of different types of cannabinoids. The two most well-known are THC and CBD. Morris' facility will grow cannabis high in CBD and low in THC. CBD does not produce a high, instead it's used to treat medical conditions like epilepsy.
“The State requires us to stay below .5 percent THC at any point and time in the grow process,” Denton said.
Once the flowering process is complete the plants are harvested, dried, cured and pulverized.
“Then we bring that plant matter, after it's been pulverized and basically looks like what would go into bags of tea, and that becomes our feed stock and the feed stock goes into our extraction machine,” said Denton.
The extraction process turns the plant matter into CBD oil, which is purified and sold in different forms like pills, oils and food.
The plant and oil is tested during each step of the process. Denton hopes to begin growing in the coming days so patients can purchase the oil as soon as possible.
“It's somewhere between 90 and 120 days after we start the grow process, so we're potentially looking at having a Merry Christmas for some people or, if not then, certainly a Happy New Year,” Denton said.
If Texas law is expanded to allow people with other medical conditions to purchase some form of marijuana, Denton said his facility is able to expand and grow that as well.
Texas law requires licensed marijuana dispensaries to provide reasonable statewide access to patients who qualify. If a patient is unable to travel to Compassionate Cultivation, the facility must use other means to provide access to the medicine.