Last year, both the state and federal governments legalized low-THC (.3%) cannabis, defining it as hemp. Consumable hemp is now completely legal to possess and use, including oils, edibles, hemp flower, and vape cartridges. These products are widely available throughout the state and have been a blessing to many Texans who can benefit from cannabis, but do not qualify to participate in the Compassionate Use Program.
In December, we reported that draft rules proposed by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) would ban in-state retail sales of consumable hemp products intended for smoking, with a definition that includes vaping.
On May 8, DSHS moved forward with formally proposing these rules, including the following restriction:
§300.104.Manufacture, Processing, Distribution, and Retail Sale of Hemp Products for Smoking.
The manufacture, processing, distribution, or retail sale of consumable hemp products for smoking is prohibited.
State law, as instituted with the passage of HB 1325, does prohibit the in-state manufacturing of hemp products intended for smoking. However, the law does not prohibit in-state retail sales of products manufactured outside Texas, as long as those products are cultivated and manufactured in compliance with federal law.
If adopted, these regulations would ban Texas businesses from selling hemp/CBD vape cartridges, cutting them out of this thriving market and pushing consumers to out-of-state retailers. It would also require that any hemp flower being sold is marketed for non-smokable purposes (making tinctures, oils, edibles, lotions, etc.). This means pre-rolled hemp would not be allowed.
Prohibiting Texas companies from selling a product that is legal to possess and use in our state is bad for business and bad for our state. Plus, courts in Indiana and Florida have ruled already against these kinds of restrictions.
NOTE: None of the rules up for consideration would ban consumers from possessing these products or from purchasing them online from other states.
TAKE ACTION: DSHS is accepting input on these proposed rules until June 8 and there is time for revision before they are made final. If you are concerned about this issue, please respectfully share your feedback.