Texas farmers are one step closer to their opportunity to grow hemp!
Yesterday afternoon, the USDA approved our state’s plan to regulate hemp. Before licenses can be issued, though, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) must adopt rules for the regulation of hemp cultivation and manufacturing. Last week, TDA hosted a hearing to accept public comment relating to their draft rules (FAQ). They’re still accepting public input via email: RuleComments@TexasAgriculture.gov.
Separately, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is charged with regulating retail sales of consumable hemp products. Proposed rules have been published and are mostly good, aiming to protect consumers. However, DSHS seems to be overstepping their authority with a provision banning in-state retail sales of “smokable” hemp products.
While the Legislature did prohibit the manufacturing of “smokable” hemp, they did not prohibit the sale of products manufactured outside of Texas. DSHS has received considerable feedback and is expected to publish a revised draft of the rules in February, giving time for more feedback before finalizing in March. Read more here and consider contacting regulators if this is important to you.
Important Note: Every part of the hemp plant (including the flower with < .3% THC) is and will remain legal to possess under all proposed rules and statutes in place. The only question is whether or not regulators are going to cut Texas businesses out of the market, pushing consumers to out-of-state retailers.