The Lone Star State is what you might call one of the more traditional jurisdictions across the country, and they prove that with their slightly delayed hemp laws. While the 2018 Farm Bill was passed into law close to two years ago, the State of Texas has yet to implement their own hemp farming program. To clarify the hemp industry landscape, the 2018 Farm Bill legalizes hemp farming for states that are able to submit a program to the US Department of Agriculture. Once the program is approved, then the state can get started on farming the agriculture commodity.
Presently, the Lone Star State has submitted their hemp farming program for approval. As the local government awaits the go signal, hemp farming remains at a standstill throughout their jurisdiction. But what does that mean for you? Here’s what you need to know about the hemp laws in Texas.
While the state has yet to enact its own hemp farming program, the groundwork has been laid. That includes the definition of legal hemp, and how to qualify the crop as compliant or not. Based on the 2018 Farm Bill, any part of the Cannabis sativa L. plant will be considered legal hemp if it contains less than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol. The same goes for any extract or derivative of the plant.
Tetrahydrocannabinol or simply THC is the main psychoactive compound found in marijuana. This is what gives a person the feeling of a ‘high’ after using or consuming marijuana. Coming from the same Cannabis sativa L., marijuana is essentially chemically differentiated from hemp based on its THC levels. Any part or extract of the cannabis plant with THC levels that are over 0.3% are classified as marijuana and is illegal throughout the state of Texas, regardless of the purpose for use.
Although hemp farming has yet to ensue within the borders of Texas State, there have been loads of CBD sellers that penetrated the market at the turn of the 2018 Farm Bill. Today, CBD products are available almost everywhere, from grocery stores, to pharmacies, to convenience stores, and even gas stations. If you were looking for a slightly more reputable source, then a CBD specialty store might better serve your needs.
These shops cater specifically to buyers interested in hemp-derived and CBD products, and will often provide you the most extensive selection of products that you’ll see in a physical store. But if you really want diversity, then buying CBD products online can be a suitable alternative.
The 2018 Farm Bill has made it possible for sellers to ship CBD products across state borders without legal repercussions because hemp is no longer listed as a controlled substance. So, anyone in search of a potent, premium quality formulation shouldn’t be concerned with the limitations of location.
While hemp farming has yet to being within the borders of Texas, hemp-derived products and CBD formulations are widespread. These include everything from the usual smokables, to the somewhat controversial edibles. For the most part, you’ll find every kind of CBD product in Texas, and CBD specialty stores have been around since the 2018 Farm Bill was passed. But that doesn’t mean that every product is technically legal, just because you can buy it without any legal repercussions.
The state has made it clear that CBD oil and CBD infused food has yet to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as a food additive. That said, CBD-infused food and drink should be illegal nationwide. Nonetheless, it seems the local governments have turned a blind eye to the purchase and sale of these products, even letting online retailers sell them on the web.
While the local government has yet to provide any clarity on the outlook of hemp-derived products once hemp farming begins within its borders, all CBD-infused food and drink products are required to come with a ‘buyer beware’ disclaimer.
The short answer is no – you can’t smoke hemp in public in Texas. But that isn’t because hemp is illegal. On the contrary, marijuana is illegal state-wide, for both recreational and medicinal use. And because hemp and marijuana can’t be visually distinguished from one another, using or simply carrying a sample with you can put you in an inconvenient situation with law enforcement.
Until we can develop a field test that can turn up THC results instantly and, on the spot, anyone found using raw hemp in public will be assumed to be using marijuana. The sample will then be confiscated and sent to a lab for testing, and only then will you be allowed to walk away without any charges or penalties.
All of that said, it would be wise to keep your hemp stash at home and avoid using raw flower in public. Things like pre-rolls should also be avoided, with alternatives like CBD cigarettes and vape oils proving to be safer choices for public use.
The Texas hemp farming program provides licenses for industrial hemp farmers to cultivate hemp for commercial purposes. As of writing, growing a private hemp garden for personal use is considered illegal within the state. The purpose why the local government aims to regulate the growth of hemp is because of its close relation with marijuana. Without the proper management and testing, crops could turn out to exceed the THC level, thus making the unfit for public consumption.
Today, the Texas Department of Agriculture has yet to give the green light on hemp farming, and they’re not accepting applications for farming permits or licenses either. What we do know is that the USDA has approved the state’s hemp farming program, and the local government is just ironing out some kinks to streamline its plan. As of now, the state is determining the proper process for licensing, the fees for the process, and the penalties and legal actions for any breach of hemp law.
All that said, we can expect the Texas Department of Agriculture to start accepting applications for hemp farming anytime within the first quarter of the year 2020. But as for private farming of hemp, we might still have to wait a few decades before any sort of movement towards that cause.
While it seems that Texas might be lagging behind its peers, being surrounded by states that all have active, ongoing hemp farming programs, the state is well on its way to reviving a thriving industry. With its land size and ideal climate, we can be certain that Texas will boom with economic growth once it gives its farmers the green light for hemp farming.
Until then however, the public can enjoy a wealth of products from out of state. The thriving retail market for hemp-derived and CBD products foreshadows the future of growers and processors interested in catering to locals. Presently, all of the products in CBD and hemp stores across the state are imported into Texas’ borders so that locals can get a preview of the benefits of hemp and CBD before their own homegrown hemp becomes ripe for the harvest.
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