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Is it Legal to Grow Hemp in Texas?

The Texas House approved House Bill 1325 which would allow industrial hemp to be legally grown by farmers in the state.  The Bill was approved by the Texas Senate which would legalize hemp and hemp-derived extracts as long as their THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content is less than 0.3%. THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana which produces the “high” feeling. The legalization of industrial hemp is expected to lead to a rise of CBD use in Texas as more and more people want to experience its benefits.

Hemp is a cousin of the marijuana plant but has very low levels of THC. Furthermore, hemp-based products have no THC and are legal in all the states. For example, protein powder, twine, and essential oils are legal in all the 50 states.  

From April 5, hemp will no longer be classified as “Schedule 1 drug” by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Schedule 1 drugs are a highly restricted group of substances with the likes of heroin, cocaine, and LSD. If a substance has no accepted medical use and has a high potential for abuse, it is listed by the government in the Schedule 1 category. A slew of Bills will also be debated by state lawmakers that would clarify how lawmakers and the police department will enforce cannabis laws. The Bills would clear up which hemp products are legal and which will remain illegal.

Gene Hall, Texas Farm Bureau spokesperson in a statement said that “There’s no good reason for Texas farmers and ranchers not to have hemp as a crop option. I suspect a lot of farmers will choose this option once it is available”. The Hemp legalization farm Bill would legalize both hemp and hemp-derived products as long as their THC level is below 0.3%. Moreover, the Bill would also remove hemp from the list of controlled substances as it is still listed among the criminal substances.  A farming program would then be set up which would outline the guidelines necessary for cultivating the plant.

Charles Bealle, a senior Scientist at Ana-Lab in Kilgore testified in third-party commercial laboratories representatives that the THC levels of hemp can be ascertained through testing. This is for both finished consumer products and hemp crops in the field. Additionally, he said that the legalization of hemp would lead to a rise of CBD use in Texas. As such, a testing framework would be established to bring certainty and safeguard state consumers.

Marijuana and hemp products which have THC have not been legal for quite some time now. As such, growing hemp with THC remains off limits. The only legal hemp-derived products in Texas are those from hemp grown in other places with no THC. Additionally, hemp-based CBD products which have zero THC content are also legal in Texas. Congress legalized hemp with less than 0.3% THC last year that led to the rise of CBD use in Texas.  Businesses and customers were able to transport the crop across state lines while many farmers were also able to grow it as a crop.

As the Bill has already been approved, the Texas Department of Agriculture will put in place regulations which will govern the hemp program. The regulations will need to first be submitted to the US Department of Agriculture for it to be approved. From the regulations, farmers who want to grow the plant would require a licensing process. The Hemp legalization Farm Bill will give farmers a new opportunity to thrive and be able to grow the plant for commercial purposes.

Businesses in Texas continue to sell hemp-based CBD products at various retail locations. This includes gas stations, specialty stores, and smoothie shops. Hemp is found in multiple commodities and has thousands of uses. The Hemp legalization Farm Bill will allow consumers to get the full benefits of hemp like pain relief, reducing blood pressure, and decreasing the chances of heart diseases. This Bill is a lifeline that will save both the farmers and consumers.

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