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Frequently Asked Legal Questions

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3563 views   |   7   |   Last updated on Dec 20, 2022    Cannabis/Marijuana

Texas does have a medical marijuana program, but there are restrictions on THC content and on who can participate.

Medical use of low-THC marijuana (or "cannabis" as it’s called in the law) is legal for patients who participate in the Texas Compassionate Use Program (CUP). The program is only open to patients with certain conditions, and patients must get a prescription from a physician registered with the program.

Laws regulating CUP are in Chapter 169 of the Texas Occupations Code and Chapter 487 of the Texas Health & Safety Code.

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) oversees the program’s administration.

Can I get a medical marijuana card in Texas?

Unlike some states, Texas does not issue physical cards for medical marijuana. Patients who participate in CUP do not receive a physical card.

Texas does not require patients in CUP to register elsewhere with the state or pay a fee to participate. Be wary of online services that claim to help you get a Texas medical marijuana card for a fee. 

What is low-THC cannabis?

Low-THC cannabis contains "less than one percent by weight of tetrahydrocannabinols" according to Section 169.001(3) of the Texas Occupations Code. It can refer to the Cannabis sativa L. plant or its derivatives, like oil or resin.

According to Section 169.001(4), low-THC cannabis can be legally consumed for medical use in any way except smoking.

Who can get a prescription?

Patient qualifications for program eligibility are in Section 169.003 of the Texas Occupations Code:

  • Patients must be permanent residents of Texas.
  • The benefits of medical use of low-THC cannabis must outweigh the risks for the patient. This is determined by the prescribing physician.

Additionally, only patients diagnosed with certain conditions are eligible for the program. Qualifying medical conditions include:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Autism
  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • A seizure disorder
  • Spasticity
  • An incurable neurodegenerative disease
  • A medical condition for which the patient is currently being treated under an approved research program

There are no age restrictions, but patients under 18 may need a parent’s or a legal guardian’s consent to receive and fill a prescription.

How does the program work?

Patients must get a prescription from a qualified physician who is registered with CUP.

The physician will electronically record the prescription and patient information in the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT) system. All Texas-licensed dispensaries must use CURT to access and fill prescriptions.

Patients (or their legal guardians) can pick up the prescription order from any licensed dispensary. They will need to show identification and provide their name, date of birth, and the last five digits of their social security number. 

Where do I find the list of registered physicians? 

You may find a registered physician in your area by searching the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT) database.  

Can I get multiple prescriptions at once? 

No. The CURT database is designed to prevent duplicate prescriptions for a single patient. 

Can I get in trouble for possessing marijuana if I have a valid prescription? 

Section 481.111 of the Texas Health & Safety Code provides an exception for patients with a valid CUP prescription for low-THC cannabis. 

Law enforcement officers have access to the online registry system and can check a patient’s prescription history, including the amount and type of marijuana prescribed. They can also see if the prescriptions have been filled.  

Possession of marijuana without a CUP prescription, even for medical reasons, is still a criminal offense. This law is in the Texas Health & Safety Code Section 481.121 (the statute uses the term "marihuana"). 

We have more information about Texas and federal laws on cannabis in our Cannabis and the Law research guide

Who do I contact if I have questions about CUP? 

Reach out directly to DPS’s Regulatory Services Division Contact Center for assistance if you have any questions. 

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