Lawmaker wants to expand medical cannabis, as first dispensary opens in Texas
MANCHACA, Texas – Just after lunch on Thursday, Debbie Tolany made history as the first customer to purchase medical cannabis at a Texas dispensary.
It was a moment that led her to tears. “I hope that it stops his seizures. I hope it gives him a little bit of his life back, makes him happier and feels better,” said Tolany, 44.
Her 14-year-old son Miles suffers from intractable epilepsy among several other conditions. Pharmaceutical drugs have not stopped Miles’ seizures. Mail-order hemp pills, which Tolany began testing a couple months ago, reduced the length of seizures but have not eliminated them.
She hopes a small vial of cannabinoid oil, with a small trace of THC, might finally help her son. “I hope to see the seizures will stop. He currently gets one once a week. I’m cautiously optimistic about that because nothing has completely stopped his seizures,” Tolany explained.
The state’s first dispensary is part of Compassionate Cultivation in Manchaca, south of Austin. It’s one of three licensed facilities for medical cannabis in the state.
“We share in their emotion. We share in their battle,” said Morris Denton, Compassionate Cultivation CEO. “We’re going to do everything we can to make a difference in these peoples’ lives. We’re at the beginning of what we hope will be a very long and successful journey to help people reduce the suffering.”
Right now, medical cannabis is only available to patients suffering from intractable epilepsy. But the state lawmaker who originally got this passed in 2015, Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-North Richland Hills, told WFAA that she wants to make medical cannabis available to people suffering from other conditions, as well.
“The kids that this bill helps, they had no other options. They had exhausted all their options. We need to look at conditions where there are no other treatment options,” said Rep. Klick.
Other conditions include multiple sclerosis, she said. Klick wants the legislature next year to expand research.
The small vial of cannabinoid oil Debbie purchased cost her about $200. It’s likely to last a month. Miles and his mom hope it helps where pharmaceuticals have not.