AUSTIN, Texas -- More patients will soon be able to access medical cannabis.

  • Gov. Abbott signs legislation expanding state's medical marijuana program 
  • Compassionate Use Act now includes more conditions
  • Used to only allow severe forms of epilepsy

Gov. Greg Abbott gave the green light to expand the state's medical marijuana program. Now, growers and distributors are preparing to ramp up production. Thalia Seggelink will soon be able to legally treat her 14-year-old son with cannabis oil. Lance has been diagnosed with moderate to severe autism. 

"He used to be highly aggressive and we had a lot of trouble with things like going out in public or to the movies or the grocery store," said Seggelink. 

Since 2014, Seggelink has been treating Lance with unregulated cannabis oil.

"I've been very nervous about what we were doing, but it's helped so much I was willing to take the risk," said Seggelink.  

Cannabis oil use has been illegal for anyone other than prescribed patients with a very rare and serious form of epilepsy, but that's changing. 

The legislation signed into law expands the state's Compassionate Use Program to include people with seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer and other conditions including autism. They can be prescribed medical cannabis from a state-licensed dispensary.

"Our ability to help thousands of more patients has become a reality for us and we couldn't be happier," said Mike Rubin with Compassionate Cultivation.  

The Austin-based medical cannabis operation is about to get even busier. Growers and chemists are already producing cannabis oil at capacity, serving more than 500 patients. Soon, they anticipate that number to grow well into the thousands. 

"This facility is pretty much maxed out for us, so we'll be looking to expand into a much larger facility around the Austin area in order to fulfil our commitment to meeting demand for our patients," said Rubin.  

Since 2015, patients participating in the Compassionate Use Program have had to have recommendations from two separate doctors to get access to cannabis oil. The new law lessens that requirement to one. The changes take effect immediately.