HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As of Tuesday, there is one more way for some people to get their hands on medical marijuana in Houston.
Houston's first permanent medical marijuana pick-up location is now open just north of downtown.
For Frank Cano of Katy, greater access comes as a relief.
Cano says he has spent more than 20 years fighting serious infections, being in and out of the hospital dozens of times, undergoing surgeries, and taking several medications. Eventually, he was diagnosed with PTSD after all he's been through.
"I was depressed and angry, and I was in the hospital every three to four months," Cano said.
In September 2021, everything changed for him when he was prescribed medical marijuana.
"On the other medications, I would wake up, and I would be sluggish or kind of be in a stupor. I wake up in the morning just feeling great," Cano said.
He says he never thought he would be taking medical marijuana.
"If somebody saw me walking down the street, they wouldn't think, 'Oh, there's somebody that uses marijuana,' and in the circles that I run in, I think people would be surprised," Cano said.
However, he says he shares his story so that other people may benefit by taking time to learn and consider it an option.
"If you had asked me 18 months ago if I would be on medical marijuana and would be feeling this well, and my life would have had these sorts of improvements, I would not have taken that wager," Cano said.
Sept. 1, 2021, is when the state of Texas' Compassionate Use Program expanded again, making it legal for people with PTSD and cancer to be prescribed medical marijuana, in addition to the qualifying conditions including multiple sclerosis, autism, and epilepsy that were already on the list.
"This is what we hoped for. It's a long time coming," said Morris Denton, CEO of Texas Original.
Denton has been in the medical marijuana business since the beginning.
"We planted our first set of seeds on October 31 of 2017," Denton said.
On Tuesday, just north of downtown, Texas Original opened, serving THC and CBD tinctures, lozenges, and gummies to those with a prescription.
"We have virtual consultation rooms here where if they don't have a prescription, we can introduce them to a doctor, they can have a virtual consultation, wait a few minutes and pick up their prescription here, or they can do it in advance," Denton explained.
This new Houston location is all part of their growing business, which has seen a significant jump since the Compassionate Use Program's expansion.
"(Since the expansion) we've seen roughly about a 1,500-to-2,000 new patient number coming in each month," Denton said.
The company is in the process of building a much larger production facility in Bastrop, with anticipation that the program will continue to broaden.
"We are optimistic. As long as our legislative leaders are listening to their constituents, then this should be an easy decision," said Denton.
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