How to Get a Cannabis License in Texas

The landscape of medical marijuana in Texas is evolving, offering new opportunities for entrepreneurs. Texas operates under a strictly regulated medical cannabis program, known as the Compassionate Use Program (CUP), which allows for the use of low-THC cannabis to treat a limited number of medical conditions. Let’s explore how to get a cannabis license in Texas.

Dispensary Header Image

How to Obtain a Cannabis License in Texas?

Obtaining a cannabis license in Texas is a complex process, involving an application through the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Applicants must provide comprehensive information about their business operations, including proof of ownership, business documentation, criminal background checks for key personnel, liability insurance, and detailed operational plans. These plans must cover cultivation, processing, security measures, and patient access to comply with state regulations​​​​.

Cannabis License Regulations in Texas

Types of Cannabis Licenses in Texas

Texas’s approach to cannabis licensing is highly restrictive, with licenses only available for medical purposes under the Compassionate Use Program. The state issues a specific type of license, called a dispensing organization license, which encompasses cultivation, processing, and retailing of low-THC cannabis.


Within the dispensing organization license framework, licensees are permitted to cultivate low-THC cannabis strictly for medical use. This cultivation must adhere to state regulations, ensuring that the cannabis produced meets the low-THC requirements set forth by the state.


Also included in the dispensing organization license is the authorization to process low-THC cannabis. This processing must result in products that are compliant with Texas’s low-THC criteria, suitable for medical use by registered patients.


The distribution aspect of the dispensing organization license allows for the transportation and delivery of low-THC cannabis products to patients or dispensaries, under strict regulatory compliance to ensure safety and adherence to legal standards.

Lab Testing

Lab testing in Texas is currently limited to the dispensaries themselves, with no independent laboratories licensed to test medical marijuana as of 2023. This requires dispensaries to self-test their products to ensure they meet the low-THC standards and report these results as part of their compliance requirements.


Retail operations are integral to the dispensing organization license, providing low-THC cannabis directly to patients who are registered under the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT). These retail operations are closely regulated to ensure patient safety and legal compliance.

Remaining Compliant with Texas Regulations

Compliance is a critical aspect of maintaining a cannabis license in Texas. Dispensaries must adhere to a range of regulatory requirements, including security measures, product testing, and patient safety protocols. The state enforces strict guidelines to prevent diversion and ensure that cannabis products are safe and legally accessible to patients​​.

Risk and Compliance Factors

The cannabis industry in Texas faces significant risks related to regulatory compliance. Non-compliance can result in severe penalties, including fines and license revocation. Businesses must be diligent in their adherence to state laws and regulations to mitigate these risks.

One of the key factors that influence compliance with state laws is how you sell your marijuana products. A Texas medical marijuana prescription is essential for accessing legal cannabis products. Only a qualified physician can prescribe medical marijuana to eligible patients.

To apply for a medical marijuana card in Texas, individuals must meet certain eligibility criteria. Medical marijuana cards serve as official documentation for accessing cannabis products.

As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your products are sold to eligible Texans only. Consulting with a medical cannabis doctor is crucial to acquire a valid medical cannabis prescription.

Medical marijuana prescriptions are influenced by qualifying conditions. Physicians may prescribe medical cannabis as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Conditions like multiple sclerosis may qualify individuals for medical marijuana use.

Final Thoughts

While Texas currently limits its cannabis industry to medical use of low-THC products, legislative changes and public opinion may influence the future of cannabis regulations in the state. Prospective licensees must navigate the complex regulatory landscape, ensuring compliance and patient safety in their operations.

Legal References and Citations

The legal framework for cannabis in Texas is defined by the Compassionate Use Act and subsequent amendments, which establish the criteria for medical use of low-THC cannabis, licensing requirements, and regulatory oversight by the Department of Public Safety.

Additional Resources

For further information on Texas’s cannabis licensing and regulations, the Texas Department of Public Safety and provide valuable resources and guidance for businesses and patients navigating the Compassionate Use Program.


FAQ Section

Q: Can Texas dispensaries sell recreational cannabis?

A: No, Texas law currently allows only the sale of low-THC cannabis for medical purposes through licensed dispensaries.

Q: How can I apply for a medical cannabis license in Texas?

A: Applications for medical cannabis licenses in Texas must be submitted through the Department of Public Safety, following the detailed requirements for dispensing organization licenses, including business documentation, operational plans, and compliance with state regulations​​​​.

Q: Are there any plans to expand the types of cannabis licenses in Texas?

A: While there is public support for the expansion of cannabis legalization in Texas, any changes to the types of available licenses would require legislative action. Stakeholders in the cannabis industry and advocacy groups continue to push for broader access to cannabis, both for medical and potential recreational use​​.