TxMJPolicy | Upcoming Events, Legal Updates, and Action Alerts

This Monday, we’re hosting a FREE Virtual Advocacy Workshop. Join us to learn more about the political process and timeline, including elections, the upcoming legislative session, and how to effectively communicate with your legislators. Click here to register.


We’re excited to announce that we’ll be hosting our third annual Texas Marijuana Policy Conference on November 20-21. To be safe and inclusive, this event will be hosted online and will feature policy makers, industry leaders, advocates, and entrepreneurs. Register now for an early bird discount — $99 registration! (Sponsorship opportunities available.)


Two more exciting opportunities are being hosted by our friends with the Foundation for an Informed Texas (FIT) and Texas Veterans for Medical Marijuana: Texas Veterans Cannabis Conference (Oct. 17) and a Texas Patient Study on Medical Cannabis to help provide accurate data about medical cannabis and patient needs. FIT will share this important data with legislators.

Other News/Updates:
The Department of State Health Services WILL NOT be able to enforce their recently adopted rule banning smokable hemp. A Temporary Injunction will be in place until the lawsuit is considered by the court in February 2021Read more here.

In spite of local diversion and first-time offender programs in nearly every major city, more than 45,000 Texans were arrested for possession in 2019. Dallas recently reported that 90% of those arrested were black and hispanic, demonstrating precisely why we need a statewide policy eliminating the threat of arrest and jail time for marijuana possession. Contact your state legislators.

Congress was set to consider the MORE Act this month. In spite of record-high support from the American people, Democrats in the House recently announced that they are postponing the vote until after the election. More here.

Sign up for email updates. If you’re not already a member, please consider joining the team with a donation toward our work.

LIVE STREAM: Temporary Injunction Hearing on Smokable Hemp Ban (Texas)

UPDATE: No ruling was made today, but is expected by the end of the week.


Without legal authority to do so, on August 2 the Texas Department of State Health Services instituted regulations banning the retail sale of legal smokable hemp products. (More here.)

Hemp businesses are fighting back!

Today in Austin, the Travis County 261st District Court and Judge Lora Livingston are considering an application for Temporary Injunction.

Watch Live!

San Antonio | Cite and Release Program Report: Good, not great.

The San Antonio Police Department recently released a full report on their Cite and Release program, which began on July 1, 2019. According to SAPD:

This program authorizes SAPD Officers to issue citations in lieu of custodial arrest in certain Class A or B misdemeanor offenses…SAPD amended existing departmental policy and expanded officer discretion to support the enhanced cite and release opportunities.

The program signaled progress and San Antonio’s willingness to consider an alternative to arrests for simple marijuana possession. It’s saved more than 2,700 hours of officer time and we saw a 35% reduction in the number of arrests for small amounts of marijuana. This is good.

Sadly, though, most people are still being arrested: 64% of those who were detained for possession of small amounts of marijuana were still taken to jail. And each person who was cited or arrested will face the full brunt of the state law when they get to court (up to six months in jail and $2,000 in fines) . According to estimates from the Department of Public Safety, 66% of those charged will be convicted, leading to a permanent criminal record and a lifetime of collateral consequences.

Collateral consequences include automatic drivers license suspension, hindered access to education, limited employment opportunities, and even safe housing can be difficult for those convicted of marijuana possession.

This report illustrates our serious need for statewide reform to decriminalize marijuana. Meaningful changes to our state law would eliminate the threat of arrest, jail time, and (most importantly) the criminal record associated with even small amounts of marijuana.

TAKE ACTION: Contact your state legislators to express your support for reform!

Upcoming Event

Texas Marijuana Policy Conference | November 20-21, 2020
(Registration opens soon!)

Temporary Restraining Order Granted Against the State, Preventing Enforcement of Smokable Hemp Ban

Update from Ritter Spencer, the firm heading up this lawsuit:

“The District Court has entered an order [yesterday] extending the temporary restraining order enjoining DSHS from enforcement of its ban against smokable hemp in Texas until the hearing on our application for temporary injunctive relief on September 14, 2020.”

Bottom line: if a business was legally selling smokable hemp products before August 1, when the new (and unlawful, IMO) regulations went into effect, they may continue doing so until at least Sept. 14. Stay tuned for updates!

(See below for more information about the lawsuit, restraining order, and backstory.)


Today in Travis County, Judge Lora Livingston granted a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), protecting hemp businesses that sell smokable hemp products in Texas.

Last year, the Texas Legislature authorized the cultivation, manufacturing, and sale of hemp and hemp products. While the law restricts in-state manufacturing of smokable hemp products, it does not restrict the in-state sale of these products. An arbitrary restriction put in place by the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) on August 1 oversteps the department’s rule-making authority, banning the sale of a product that is completely legal for Texans to possess and consume.

This TRO maintains the law as it was before DSHS instituted their unlawful regulation, protects Texas business owners, and gives time for attorneys to prepare for a Temporary Injunction hearing on September 2.

“No enforcement of the new rule.” – Judge Livingston

When this unlawful rule was originally proposed last fall, we mobilized the grassroots, generating hundreds of public comments during the rule-making process. Here’s some of the backstory.

Note: It has been clarified that this ban would not prohibit the sale of loose hemp flower as long as it’s not marketed for smoking. It would ban hemp flower pre-rolls and CBD vape cartridges.

Stay tuned for updates as legal proceedings continue.

TEXAS MARIJUANA POLICY VOTER GUIDE | 2020 PRIMARY RUNOFF EDITION

In July, there will be dozens of Primary Runoff Election around the state because, in those districts, no candidate received more than 50% of the vote in the March Primaries. The two candidates with the highest number of votes face off in the Primary Runoff Election to see who will represent their party on the ballot in November.

We surveyed the candidates to find out where they stand on marijuana policy, including voting records for incumbents. With this information, you can vote for candidates who share your values. Here is how you can prepare:  

  • Review the Texas Marijuana Policy Voter Guide for Republican and Democratic candidate responses. (Libertarians have a separate process.)
    Reminder: If you voted in one party’s Primary in March, you can only vote in that party’s runoff. Switching parties at this time would violate election law. So stick with your party for the runoff.
  • Early Voting Starts: Monday, June 29th, 2020 | Election Day: Tuesday, July 14th, 2020. Learn about voting locations, what you need to vote and more HERE.
  • Please make a donation to support this important program!
  • Texans must rely on our state elected officials, specifically our state representatives and state senators (so take a close look at yours). Learn more about engaging with your legislators by reviewing the Texas NORML Activist Training Guide.

Texas NORML originated the first cannabis centric voter guide in 2012. We’ve teamed up to expand the program with support from our broad coalition of organizations, activists, and community leaders dedicated to realizing effective, efficient, and evidence-based marijuana policies in Texas. We will also offer a General Election edition.

Participating in elections is a critical part of setting ourselves up for success when the Texas Legislature convenes in January. In addition to voting, please consider reaching out to the candidates to share your position on marijuana policy.

Make sure they know you and understand why this is such an important issue!

Texas Moves to Ban Retail Sales of Hemp (CBD) Vape Products | Here’s how you can help!

Submit your public comments on this proposed ban.

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.

Could Legal Marijuana Benefit the Texas Economy?

For far too long, Texans have suffered under marijuana prohibition, a policy that has caused more harm than good. Many millions have been arrested, lives have been derailed, families have been torn apart, and valuable law enforcement resources have been squandered. 

In addition to reducing the devastating social impact of these failed policies, especially in poor and minority communities, the prospect of a new taxable market is catching the eye of lawmakers. And for good reason.

Even with modest taxes imposed, the State of Texas could bring in as much as $1 billion. This funding can help fill the budgetary gap created by government shutdowns in response to COVID-19.

CBS Austin recently covered this story, including an interview with Heather Fazio, director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy:

Contact Governor Abbott and your state lawmakers to encourage their support for legalizing marijuana in Texas!

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.

Here’s the latest…

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%.

Texas Regulators Seek to Ban Sales of Legal CBD Vape Products and Hemp Flower!

Update here.

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 (hemp flower pre-rolls).

“Rule §300.004 MANUFACTURE OF SMOKABLE HEMP PRODUCT. (a) The processing, manufacturing, and 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.

After further analysis, the proposed rules would also ban hemp/CBD vape products! 

How was this overlooked? Because “smoking” is defined in the new law as “burning or igniting a substance and inhaling the smoke or heating a substance and inhaling the resulting vapor or aerosol.”

If adopted, these regulations would ban Texas businesses from selling hemp flower pre-rolls and hemp/CBD vape cartridges, cutting them out of this thriving market and pushing consumers to out-of-state retailers.

I do not believe they have the authority to do this.

DSHS is still accepting input on these proposed rules and there is time for revision before they are made final. If you are concerned about this issue, click here DSHS a quick email. Or email them directly at DSHSHempProgram@dshs.texas.gov to share your thoughtful feedback.

NOTE: None of the rules up for consideration would ban consumers from possessing these products or from purchasing them online from other states.

A public hearing was hosted on December 17, 2019, but very few people were there to testify. Watch here:

Hemp Cultivation/Manufacturing: Licensing Update

Since June, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) has moved forward with drafting rules for the regulation and licensing of hemp cultivation and manufacturing. 

Last week, TDA’s plan for regulation was approved by the USDA last week, but the department must formally adopt their hemp rules in order for hemp production businesses to become licensed to operate. This is expected to happen in the next few weeks. “Early-mid March,” according to TDA Commissioner, Sid Miller.  More info here.