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Difficulty Arises In Receiving Prescriptions For Medical Marijuana In North Texas

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - State-sanctioned medical marijuana is now available for purchase.

It has been for weeks, but Know Medical, the first licensed dispensary to hit the market, says it's still waiting on its first order. Families who advocated for a legalized version of the drug say the absence of orders isn't due to a lack of interest but rather difficulty getting a doctor to prescribe it.

Only eight doctors in the state are approved to do so. Not a single one is in North Texas.

"It's so frustrating to know that's it there and we're not able to access it yet," said Patty Bates-Ballard.

Her son Kory is one of thousands of Texans with intractable epilepsy who is eligible under state law to use a low-THC non-smoking version of the drug.

"We're ready. We're ready to try this. We're past ready," said Bates-Ballard.

She's hoping it can put an end to her son's seizures.

"There's no way to understand what it's like to have your child go through a seizure if you haven't witnessed it once," she said.

She says she was told this week UT Southwestern, which employs Kory's doctor, is not yet allowing physicians to prescribe cannabis. CBS11 attempted to confirm this with the hospital, but phone calls and e-mails were not returned.

"I wanted to have every possible treatment available," said Dr Michael Newmark, a neurologist at Kelsey-Seybold in Houston who registered with the state to prescribe cannabis. He said he plans to use it as a treatment option, but cautiously and only after ruling out more conventional medicine.

With research on medical marijuana, he said doctors are "flying by the seat of our pants".

"We really don't know how effective it is at different doses, what the maximum doses are, what the minimum dose is," he said.

Bates-Ballard says her son has tried conventional methods. Now she wants the medicine she lobbied to legalized.

"We have to have our doctors ready and willing to prescribe it," she said.

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