The good news about the recent expansion of the Lone Star State’s Compassionate Use Program (CUP) is that it opened the door for more Texans to get a Texas Marijuana Card.
The better news? A whole lot of people have started walking through that door, meaning a stronger, more robust CUP for all Texans with qualifying conditions.
In September, CUP expanded to recognize all forms of cancer and PTSD as qualifying conditions, and to allow slightly more THC in medical marijuana.
We told you back before the expansion how these changes meant CUP was poised for significant growth, if for no other reason than the potentially millions of Texans who will face PTSD at some point in their lives.
And while we don’t want to break our arms patting ourselves on our backs, it looks like we got that call right. CUP saw the most significant increase in participation immediately after the expansion bill was passed, and much of that growth is being attributed to the inclusion of PTSD as a qualifying condition.
Largest Spike Ever in Texas Medical Marijuana Participation Comes the Same Month as Expansion
According to Austin Business Journal, CUP issued 2,756 new Texas Marijuana Cards in September, the same month that PTSD and cancer patients were recognized as eligible to get a card. That’s a 33% jump in enrollment compared to the month before, but it’s not just the month over month jump that’s impressive.
There has been slow but steady growth since the creation of CUP in 2015, when the program only recognized patients with severe epilepsy as eligible to participate in CUP. But September’s jump was the first time that more than 1,000 patients received Texas Marijuana Cards in a single month.
And while September’s 2,756 new patients enrolled was a record month, it was a record that didn’t stand for long. CUP issued another 2,091 new cards in October, meaning enrollment has jumped from 4,182 patients in January of 2021 to a total of more than 13,000 currently. .
CUP Enrollment Jump Largely Attributed to PTSD
While we don’t have Texas specific numbers, the VA estimates that 6% of Americans will suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives. If that percentage holds true for Texas, then close to two million Texans have, have had, or will have PTSD in their lifetimes.
So it’s no wonder that enrollment in CUP should jump after PTSD was recognized as a qualifying condition. In fact, Marcus Ruark, president of Goodblend Texas, one of only three companies licensed to grow and sell medical marijuana in the state, told Austin Business Journal that “the influx of new patients at its dispensaries has been ‘probably almost entirely due’ to an influx of patients with PTSD.”
Texas CUP Enrollment Remains Low, but More Growth is Expected
Morris Denton, CEO of Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation, another of the state’s three licensed marijuana providers, told Austin Business Journal that September’s spike in enrollment was a “shot in the arm,” but said that Texas’ medical marijuana market remains underdeveloped.
“It’s good expansion, but it's not game-changing expansion,” Denton told the Business Journal. “We view the market at still being a small market. If you look at it objectively and compare to any other market that’s out there — 11,000 patients for a state as large as Texas objectively is very, very small.”
But that small size means big opportunity for businesses looking to get into the medical marijuana market. The Austin Business Journal reports that the limited number of licensed providers here gives the state “near-unlimited upside.” And Scott Greiper of the cannabis investment firm Viridian Capital Advisors told the Journal in August that Texas is “an extremely attractive state for investors and acquirers” due to its large population and limited existing competition.
But it’s not just new investors who see Texas’ medical marijuana market as poised for a giant leap forward. Both Goodblend Texas and Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation have massive expansions planned. Goodblend plans a new $25 million cultivation, production, and retail facility in San Marcos, while Texas Original started construction on a new 95,000 square foot headquarters in Bastrop back in August.
Enrollment Increases are Good News to Everyone with a Texas Marijuana Card
These thousands of newcomers to CUP will now have the good fortune to be able to safely and effectively treat their qualifying conditions, but those names added to the program also mean good news for Texans who already have their cards.
The scarcity of marijuana providers has been blamed for at least some of the CUP’s low enrollment issues. And the CUP’s low enrollment has been blamed for some of the scarcity of providers. It’s a vicious cycle: Texans look at the market, see low competition and high prices, and opt out of participating. Investors look at the market, see Texans opting out of participating, and decide not to try to carve out a place for themselves.
But as we’ve already seen, just a couple of months of growth has existing cannabis companies thinking of expanding their presence in the market, and outside investors thinking of getting in the game.
And so what was once a vicious cycle now has a shot at becoming a beneficial one: More patients attracts more competition. More competition leads to better, more affordable products. And better and more affordable products attract more patients, who in turn attract more competition.
Why Not be a Part of Texas’ Growing Medical Marijuana Program?
If you haven’t looked into medical marijuana and what it can do for you, what are you waiting for? With more patients than ever before, and more (and more affordable) options on the way, there has never been a better time to get a Texas Marijuana Card.
Reserve an evaluation today with one of our qualified, compassionate doctors, and we’ll book an appointment for you just as we’re cleared to.
You’ll meet with your new doctor virtually, using your smartphone or computer for a telemedicine appointment. Together you’ll discuss your qualifying condition and how you might benefit from medical marijuana, all without leaving your home. You’ll even save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!