Texas is known for many things, but legal cannabis isn’t one of them -- yet. Although the state hasn’t legalized marijuana use at this point, one enterprising incubator has taken on a number of pot entrepreneurs making big plans for the next few years.
The Texas Cannabis Industry Association (TCIA) has already begun working with nine startups on everything from business plans to legal advice. It also lobbies on cannabis policy issues at the state level.
“Texas has a solid reputation as a business-friendly state, but not on being cannabis-cultured,” Kayla Brown, a Texas A&M School of Law student who serves as the TCIA’s executive director, told Marijuana Business Daily. “There was a need for that gap to be filled.”
Marijuana is currently illegal for either medical or recreational use in Texas, but change could be on the horizon.
“It’s not a negative that we’re in a red state,” Patrick Moran -- CEO of AcquiFlow LLC, a Dallas-based distributor of agricultural products that can be employed in the cultivation of marijuana -- told MBD. “Texas is good for business, and we’ve made some incredible allies in the Republican ranks.”
In March, Texas Rep. David Simpson proposed legislation in favor of removing marijuana prohibition altogether in his state, with the Republican arguing it should be regulated like any other agricultural commodity. “I am proposing that this plant be regulated like tomatoes, jalapenos or coffee,” Simpson told local reporters at the time, according to KLTV-TV in Tyler. “Current marijuana policies are not based on science or sound evidence, but rather misinformation and fear.”
Also last month, Texas lawmakers proposed two bills meant to legalize medical marijuana. And, more recently, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws set up a new chapter in the town of Denton.
But Texas isn’t the only place where cannabis capitalists are attempting to get a head start. As the legal pot business continues to boom in Colorado and Washington, entrepreneurs in other states such as Florida and Illinois are preparing for their own green rush.