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).
“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 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, please respectfully email DSHSHempProgram@dshs.texas.gov to share your 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.