Gov. Greg Abbott has signed off on a new law which clarifies which CBD products are legal in Texas. It also legalized the production and cultivation of hemp in the state. The law received bipartisan surrport in the state Legislature and is effective immediately.
Texas will be allowed to set up a federally approved program for farmers to grow hemp as an industrial crop. This includes procedures for sampling, inspection, and testing. The legislation will also expand the types of hemp products that are legally purchased to include any hemp-derived products containing less that 0.3 percent THC.
That means that cannabidiol, or CBD, products are now legal. Although tinctures, oils and other CBD goods have been on store shelves for years in Texas, any containing trace amounts of THC were technically illegal. As of today, as long as those products are hemp-derived, contain less than 0.3 percent THC and meet other quality standards, they are completely legal.
Marijuana is still illegal in Texas and federally in the United States.
“I am excited that we have taken one more step towards giving producers in Texas the opportunity to grow hemp,” Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said in a statement. “Texas will be a leader in hemp production, and we will be submitting our plan and writing rules to follow the 2018 Farm Bill and the law recently enacted in Texas.
“This will be another tool for farmers that are looking to diversify their farming operations.”
The federal government recently removed hemp from the list of controlled substances under the Farm Bill. Texas did not opt into industrial hemp production like the other 42 states. Farmers said this has held them back from accessing a lucrative, popular and now legal crop.
In fact, until the Texas hemp bill was signed into law, the state defined marijuana and hemp as the same illegal crop. Both marijuana and hemp come from the cannabis plant family, but they have very differing properties. Hemp contains minimal levels of THC, the high-inducing natural compound found in marijuana.
Heather Fazio, director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, called the bill’s approval “a big step for Texans and one we can all be proud of.”
“The Texas Legislature got at least one thing right this session when they legalized hemp. Finally, Texas farmers are no longer cut out of this lucrative agricultural market. Plus, Texans are now free to use CBD without fear of arrest,” Fazio said in a statement.
Cannabis laws have ben a major issue at both the state and federal levels for the past few years. A bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana failed to pass in legistlature, however lawmakers are looking to expand access to medical cannabis under the state’s Compassionate Use Act.
Gov. Abbott will either sign or veto this bill on Sunday, June 16.