As Texas moves forward with legalizing access to cannabis oil for some epilepsy patients, the state still needs to set up a system for distributing the medicine. Some folks in McKinney are offering up an idea: they want to repurpose a hundred-year-old cotton gin to grow, process and distribute cannabis oil.
The man with the plan is Patrick Moran, CEO of AcquiFlow, a Texas-based cannabis company. He says that the old cotton gin is the ideal location to produce cannabidiol, the type of cannabis-derived oil used to treat severe forms of epilepsy. But retrofitting the location will take some work.
"There's no location that is equipped at this moment in Texas to provide this medicine at the level and the scale that it needs to be provided for epileptics," Moran says. "So any place that we enter, whether you're building new or repurposing like we are, you've got a significant buildout."
Gunter is a small town in North Texas with a population of about 1,500. While the community overall has been supportive, Moran says some residents needed persuading.
"I think initially the pushback was, 'This was this is a pot factory, what is this going to do?' It was very much tied to kind of a 'reefer madness' misinformation," Moran says, "folks that were just behind the information curve about the reality about this plant and its use and, specifically, the Texas legislation that allows for this."
Despite the pushback, Moran is adamant that the medical marijuana industry needs to move forward in Texas.
"Texans need to take care of Texans," he says. "The idea that someone is supposed to pack up their child... who has epilepsy and move to another state because a very small minority of people don't like it is appalling, frankly. ... It's not Texan, it's not Christian, and it's not human to try to prevent this from happening for these people."
Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.