As Texas Sees 35% Increase in Opioid Deaths, Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation Advocates for Proven Alternative TreatmentsPosted by On


AUSTIN, Texas–()–Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation (TOCC), Texas’ leading medical cannabis provider, says it will continue to advocate for an opioid alternative program as the opioid epidemic grips Texas. TOCC’s latest statement is underscored by a report released by cannabis consultancy Nucleus One, which notes the ongoing opioid epidemic costs Texas $20 billion annually and thousands of preventable deaths. Texas was also one of a handful of states that saw more than a 35 percent increase in opioid-related deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic’s first year.

“House Bill 1535 is certainly a step in the right direction, but it does not accomplish nearly enough to help those seeking an alternative to opioids,” said Morris Denton, CEO of TOCC. “While other states are busy implementing sophisticated medical cannabis programs and tackling the country’s opioid epidemic, more than 1 million Texans continue to misuse prescription pain relievers because they are prohibited from accessing effective alternatives. If elected officials fail to embrace the power and truth of medical cannabis, we will continue to needlessly lose thousands of our fellow Texans to ineffective treatments.”

The Nucleus One report also explains how medical cannabis is a proven alternative to opioids. In a 2019 study published by researchers from the San Francisco VA Medical Center, 41 percent of opioid users reported a decrease or cessation of opioid use due to replacing it with cannabis. Another study from the University of Georgia noted a 14 percent reduction in opioid prescriptions in states with medical cannabis programs.

“The opioid crisis continues to take a physical, emotional and economic toll on Texas families and communities,” said Connor Yost, partner at Nucleus One. “It’s a very real and devastating public health issue. Establishing opioid alternative programs that include increased access to medical cannabis has proven to reduce opioid addiction in other U.S. states. With an expanded medical cannabis program, Texas could yield $820 million in estimated annual savings due to improved healthcare outcomes and costs while significantly reducing opioid overdose deaths.”

The Texas legislature is scheduled to reconvene for a special session on July 8, 2021, to vote on legislation Governor Greg Abbott deemed critical to state interests. House Bill 1535’s original iteration included a higher THC cap (5 percent) and added chronic pain to the list of qualifying conditions where an opioid would otherwise be prescribed. The Texas Senate reduced the proposed THC cap from 5 percent to 1 percent by weight and removed chronic pain, but did not establish an opioid alternative program—threatening to prolong the opioid epidemic by denying millions of people access to effective treatment.

“As the only Texas-built and owned medical cannabis provider, we are more than capable of providing quality, effective medicine to those who need it most,” Denton added. “We stand ready to end opioid dependence in the state of Texas. We hope the legislature is ready to have meaningful conversations about building and deploying an opioid alternative program that will save countless Texan lives.”

To read the full report from Nucleus One, click . To learn more about TOCC, its medical cannabis solutions and its successes with thousands of patients throughout Texas, visit

About Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation

Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation (TOCC) is the leading licensed medical marijuana producer in Texas, working alongside physicians to provide the highest quality cannabis medicine to patients and families seeking relief across the state. As fellow Texans, we are dedicated to representing the integrity of this great state with our commitment to quality, consistency and purity in every product we produce. We remain committed to advancing safe, legal access to this powerful medicine. TOCC is headquartered in Austin, with delivery throughout the entire state. For more information, visit

About Nucleus One

Nucleus One is a leading Cannabis Business Consulting firm in the United States with offices in Portland, Boston, and San Francisco. Nucleus One is a multi-state cannabis consulting provider, with clients throughout New England, the Midwest, and the western US. With a mission to accelerate growth, increase profitability, and improve operational efficiency for its clients, Nucleus One provides tailored consulting solutions around strategy, compliance, operations, and finance. From business plans to license applications through standard operating procedures, Nucleus One accompanies businesses at all stages of their lifecycle, from startup to turnaround. Learn more about Nucleus One at


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