The first Texas-based medical cannabis dispensary opened its doors Thursday afternoon to patients with epilepsy -- something many say is life changing.
Lawmakers passed a bill in 2015, but patients with epilepsy have been long awaiting the arrival of the first dispensary in the Lone Star State.
Christy Wilkens and her 2-year-old son, Oscar, were some of the first to buy CBD oil -- a form of medical cannabis -- at the Texas-based company, Compassionate Cultivation.
"We're really hoping this is just going to be one more thing in the tool box help us help him," said Wilkens.
Wilkens said trying to combat her son's epileptic seizures has been like a rollercoaster ride.
"It's been a long journey for us, we've tried a lot of things," said Wilkens. "We've had really good seizure control from some periods, and we think everything is fine and suddenly we find out he's having seizures again."
Another local, Debbie Tolany, bought the oil for her 14-year-old son, who still has one to two seizures per week. She told KVUE she has tried multiple pharmaceuticals and none of them have done the trick.
Tolany has been fighting in the legislature for years to legalize the medicine.
"We have worked tirelessly for the last two sessions to get access to this medicine," Tolany said.
And since the decision, Tolany's anticipation has been growing for nearly three years to her account. Her son has never tried the cannabis oil until now.
"We're really excited to have another option to hopefully help him," said Tolany.
Compassionate Cultivation CEO Morris Denton called the dispensary's opening a historic day.
"It's been quite a journey, and quite an adventure, and a roller coaster in so many different ways," said Denton. "While we have challenges and hurdles and road blocks, they're nothing compared to the challenges that people with epilepsy face every single day."
Denton said they've been working on the perfect blend, following strict state guidelines for the amount of THC the product can contain and the amount of CBD it must have.
"We're at the starting line," Denton said. "We're at the starting line of our business, we're at the starting line for these people."
The oil comes in two sizes and three flavors.
But to get it, patients must have a prescription from a registered doctor and be on the state's Compassionate Use Registry.
Denton said they hope to eventually expand the product line by adding a dissolvable powder, a pill, or a vape.
"It's not a one size shoe fits all," said Denton. "We want to offer our patients a selection in the product types, as long as we're not changing the nature of the product, for the prescribers."
"This is something I've been working for as an adult with epilepsy for a really long time in the state of Texas," said Cullen Vujosevic, the dispensary manager.
Vujosevic was diagnosed with epilepsy 8 years ago.
"Having this available in a safe legal manner, will really make a difference in some Texans lives," said Vujosevic.
At the time, Vujosevic was training to be a police officer, but was kicked out the academy due to his diagnosis.
"I was trying handfuls of seizure medications and it wasn't stopping my seizures," Vujosevic said. "I'm not a candidate for surgery, so it was kind of difficult to see what could actually help me with my epilepsy condition."
Vujosevic's doctor suggested medical cannabis, so he moved out of Texas.
"I was referred by my neurologist out of Central Texas, 8 years ago, of course in a very whispered office appointment, 'you need to try medical cannabis," said Vujosevic.
Immediately, he saw a reduction in seizures.
Coming from a law enforcement family, Vujosevic said it took them a little while to adjust.
"When they actually see me having a seizure on the floor or I come back with bruises, a bitten tongue, bleeding... I mean any of those things, they can't argue the benefits of medical cannabis," said Vujosevic.
With the medical, state regulated cannabis, Vujosevic said the dispensary is able to manage exactly what ingredients are in it.
"The only option before the program was created was the black market, and that's not a safe option," said Vujosevic.
And he believes this option is needed.
"It was the one thing that improved my quality of life and allowed me to be a functional working, normal adult," said Vujosevic.
A quality of life, many hope this oil will provide for patients and families like the Wilkens.
"I'm happy that this day has finally come for Texas," said Wilkens. "I'm really proud and happy that Texas is no longer standing in the way."