SCHULENBURG, Texas (FOX 26) - Saying the words “legal”, “marijuana” and “Texas” in the same sentence seems odd. In fact, it may seem crazy to most residents of the Lone Star State. But in 2018, growing, harvesting and distributing that controversial little green plant is a reality.
Texas is now home to three facilities that will produce a medical grade cannabis oil and distribute it to patients. The businesses are located in Austin, Manchaca, and the closest one to Houston just down the road in Schulenburg – a small Texas town that is suddenly getting a lot of attention.
“We've gotten a few phone calls. We have to make it very clear that it is not a place you can drive up and purchase,” said Jennifer Gilliam with the Schulenburg Chamber of Commerce. “You have to have a license in order to purchase it and even then the process to get the license is quite extensive and even with the license you can't drive up and purchase it. They do deliveries. And so, we have had to make that clear to everyone.”
The cannabis oil that being produced is very low in actual THC, which means it won't get you high, and can only be dispensed to a set number of patients in the state with the most severe form of epilepsy.
"Well my first thought was ‘it's medical’ and I have heard of the good that it can do for people and so it didn't really phase me,” said Schulenburg resident Debbie Hall.
The general consensus among folks that live in this town seems to be that if it can help someone that is truly suffering from a serious condition, then why not let them have access to it.
"The medical is great. I have seen people have epileptic fits, I mean seizures, and if it can help them. That would be amazing," Hall said.
The actual facility producing the medical cannabis is located just outside of the Schulenburg city limit. It is owned by Knox Medical, a company based in Florida with multiple locations around the U.S. We spoke with founder and CEO Jose J. Hidalgo about what happens next now that they are up and running.
"Schulenburg is, that is where we are going to stay. We are not going anywhere,” Hidalgo said. “We have plenty of land to expand within the facility and there's plenty more land beyond that facility as well. No we are staying, cultivating, manufacturing and distributing from Schulenburg. That's our plan."
In a place where everyone knows everyone, you would think this would be a pretty hot topic of discussion for residents. But in this case, you'd be wrong.
"As far as reaction in town, we really haven't heard much about it,” Gilliam said. “It's just outside of town. It's creating some jobs. Since it's not in the city limits we just don't hear much about it."