Without the fanfare of a signing ceremony or public statement, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott legalized industrial hemp and products derived from the plant this week, bringing Dallas' many CBD shops out of murky legal waters and into the light. House Bill 1325, which passed overwhelmingly in both the Texas House and Senate, legalizes industrial hemp production.
CBD products, at least the ones easily found in Dallas, are derived from industrial hemp and contain less than .03% THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana.
Hemp proponents, like the bill's author, Texas House Republican Charles Perry, and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, pushed the legislature to legalize hemp production so that Texas farmers could have a level playing field with states where hemp is already legal.
"The hemp industry is rapidly growing and we need to ensure our farmers are able to participate. We hope this agricultural commodity will help boost rural communities now that there is a new viable crop option for our farmers," Perry said in May.
Under the new law, Miller's department of agriculture is responsible for overseeing and issuing licenses to farms that hope to grow hemp. Any products made for human consumption will be regulated by Texas Health and Human Services.
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Prior to HB 1325 going into effect, CBD products existed in a gray area. Last spring the Texas Department of State Health Services initially issued guidelines that would've made many existing CBD products illegal to sell because they don't have appropriate food labeling.
Heather Fazio, the director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, praised the bill for clarifying state law.
“The Texas Legislature got at least one thing right this session when they legalized hemp,” Fazio said in a statement to the Texas Cannabis Collective. “Finally, Texas farmers are no longer cut out of this lucrative agricultural market. Plus, Texans are now free to use CBD. There’s a lot to be excited about with this legislation.”