Texas Hemp Update: Regulations Adopted – License Applications Expected by March 16
At the end of 2018, hemp was legalized nationwide and in June 2019, state lawmakers instituted the Texas Hemp Program. Since then, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) and Department of State Health Services (DSHS) have worked to establish the regulatory infrastructure for this program, including business licensing, testing standards, and rules relating to both industrial and consumable hemp products.
BIG NEWS: TDA has adopted official rules governing the production (cultivation), processing, handling, sampling, testing, and disposal of hemp, which is defined as cannabis with less than .3% THC. According to an article published by the Austin-American Statesman, “The Texas Department of Agriculture has said it expects to start accepting online applications for hemp licenses on March 16.“
TDA also published a list of certified hemp seed varieties. Here’s the application for getting additional varieties approved.
BIG PROBLEM: DSHS is responsible for licensing the manufacturing, processing, and distribution of hemp products. Draft rules published by DSHS still include a provisions that would ban the in-state sale of consumable hemp products intended for smoking or vaping.
Read more about this overreach of authority and take action to bring the proposed rules in line with state law, which does NOT prohibit the retail sale of these legal products.
UPDATE FROM THE USDA: Federal law requires labs testing hemp be DEA-registered. Since there are not enough DEA-registered labs across the country, the USDA has decided to not enforce this requirement for the duration of this crop year. Texas labs testing hemp will need to be registered with TDA.
Additionally, the USDA has identified six methods of disposal for “hot” crops that have levels of THC higher than .3%.
Ten Things You Should Know about CBD Oil in Texas
CBD oil and other hemp-derived products are widely available in Texas, meaning most Texans can now enjoy the various therapeutic benefits of cannabidiol, ranging from reducing anxiety to alleviating chronic pain.
But, the best news is that hemp-derived CBD oil is now legal for sale and use in the Lone Star State. On June 10, 2019, Governor Greg Abbott inked into law the so-called House Bill 1325, essentially making hemp-derived products like CBD oil legal as long as they contained less than 0.3 percent THC.
More specifically, this piece of legislation modified the Texas Health & Safety Code, excluding hemp from being classified or defined [at the state level] as a ‘controlled substance’. In addition, the bill amended the Texas Agriculture Code for the monitoring and production of hemp and hemp-related products.
Most CBD oil users, businesses and experts welcomed this legislation, describing it as a crucial milestone for people looking for alternative treatments for chronic conditions like anxiety and pain. Unsurprisingly, the demand for legal CBD products in Texas has already gone through the roof, so much so that it’s created a shortage of Christmas trees.
Now that hemp production and sale are legal, what’s in store for the CBD community in Texas?
If you’re looking to try CBD oil in Texas but aren’t sure about its legality, we rounded up this quick guide to answer your questions. Let us help decode the confusion and mixed messages surrounding CBD and its legislation in Texas.
1- First Up, What’s the Federal Government Take on CBD Oil?
Hemp, the primary source of CBD oil, has a long, storied history in the United States, especially here in Texas. When imported into the US from Europe, it formed a huge part of the textile industry, with the vast majority being used to produce clothes and ship sails.
Hemp was legal until it was demonized in the early 20th century, largely because of its close association with its psychoactive cousin, marijuana. Both were soon criminalized, alongside alcohol, with the ban lasting well beyond the prohibition period.
But this all changed when the U.S. Senate passed the revised version of the Farm Bill 2018.
President Donald Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 into law early in that year. One particular subsection of this updated Farm Bill declassified hemp and non-psychoactive hemp products, which meant they were no longer classified as controlled substances.
In legal terms, the bill made hemp and hemp-derived products such as CBD oil legal in all 50 states. The only condition attached is that legal cultivation should be restricted to industrial, low-THC hemp strains.
Similarly, the legislation stipulates that CBD oil and other hemp-derived products should contain no more than 0.3 percent THC to be considered legal. Any product violating this THC threshold is illegal at the federal level but could be legal in states that have legalized marijuana, either for recreational or medicinal use.
2- Yes, CBD Oil is Now Legal in Texas
For a while, after the passing of the Farm Bill 2018, some states including Texas failed to set their own regulations regarding CBD use and sale. Some states even went ahead and banned CBD altogether.