AUSTIN (KXAN) — Thousands of people living with chronic pain are hoping lawmakers at the Texas Capitol provide them with relief in the form of medical marijuana.
Last week, the Texas House Committee on Public Health unanimously approved a bill to increase the THC limits in medical cannabis and expand who is eligible to use it.
On Tuesday, goodblend — a state-licensed medical marijuana operator — opened its first dispensary location in Austin. It’s only the third medical marijuana retail location to open in the Lone Star State.
Cannabis advocate Johanna Nuding stopped by the store to see what was available.
“A lot of times, people need a little hand-holding,” she said. “Having a brick-and-mortar location where people can do that, makes them feel more comfortable.”
In goodblend’s new retail location, registered patients of the Texas Compassionate Use Program can shop for non-smokable cannabis products such as gummies, chocolates and tinctures.
“With it being a legislative year, we want to ensure that everybody has more access to products,” goodblend Community Relations Manager Terrence Baugh said. “Where they don’t have to necessarily order, but they can come in and pick up the products as they need to.”
House Bill 1805, by State Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth), would expand the list of eligible Texans to anyone with a debilitating medical condition or chronic pain.
This is something that Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is on board with.
“Chronic pain is not approved,” Miller said, “You know, a lot of people are using it, of course we’re making criminals out of them and that just needs to stop.”
The bill would also increase how much THC can be prescribed.
“Currently, about 7 million Texans are eligible to be on the program and a little under 50,000 are on the program,” Baugh said. “So adding that extra condition opens it up for a wide variety of Texans all across the state.”
They hope to help folks feel comfortable and are trying to normalize cannabis as an alternative option to prescription drugs.
For Nuding, this is a significant step towards Texas normalizing medical cannabis use.
“If you’re canna-curious and you want to know if this is the right thing for you, you can come in and have an in real life conversation get to actually look at the products and see what is available to you,” Nuding said.
As for this storefront, starting this week it’ll be open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.