With the recent legalization of hemp production in Texas and voting of a new bill that would expand their marijuana medical laws, many Texans are confused as to whether CBD is now legal in this state.
Texas is the second most populous state in America, and it covers the biggest surface of all continental states, except for Alaska with its massive plains, deserts, and mountainous areas.
It is also known as one of the states with the biggest agricultural output, traditionally competing with California, Iowa, and a few other states.
Because of this, Texans were highly impatient to see the Farm Bill passed late last year, as it meant a huge boost to the state’s economy.
After the federal government passed the Farm Bill, it also de facto legalized hemp-derived CBD as the substance is a naturally-occurring molecule in most hemp plants.
Legalization of hemp in Texas
Texas took the legalization a step further and legalized the production of hemp on its own just a few days ago, as Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill and it went into action on June 10th.
This bill made it so that the farmers in Texas can safely grow hemp without fear of having their crops seized and destroyed.
There are multiple varieties of hemp on the market, but as this bill becomes law it will limit what types can be grown in Texas. Growing hemp with flowers that can be smoked will not be legal, and retailers of hemp-made CBD products will be required to register with the state.
Here are other important segments of the new law:
- Farmer application fees are capped at $100
- Licensing additional locations will carry a $100 fee per location
- Fees for THC testing is capped at $300
- Sales and possession of smokeable hemp will be legal
- Clear and distinct labeling will be required for products containing “more than trace amounts” of cannabinoids
Lisa Pittman, a Denver-based attorney hailing from Texas, says that Texas will quickly rein in the rest of the states and she’s certain that Texas will soon become the leader of the nation in hemp production.
“Texas is going to be a leader,” she said. “We are an agricultural state already, and farmers have been working on this for a very long time.”
However, the legalization of hemp on the federal level, and then the subsequent state legalization somewhat confused people. What did it mean for the legal status of CBD in Texas?
Seeing how CBD oil had been sold in Texas even before the state legalized it a few days ago, it looks it was in somewhat of a legal gray zone.
After all, people were still being arrested for possession of CBD oil in Texas and other states, even though it was legalized by the federal government. So what gives?
Is CBD oil legal in Texas?
The question of whether CBD is legal in Texas is still somewhat debatable, as CBD can be produced from marijuana as well.
The medical cannabis law passed in 2015 going by the Texas Compassionate Use Act clearly states that the use of low-THC CBD oil to treat epilepsy patients is legal in Texas.
Epilepsy patients in Texas are allowed to use CBD oil which can have up to 0.5% of THC, while the new law which legalized hemp-made CBD oil just days ago states that it is legal to possess CBD oil that doesn’t contain more than 0.3% of THC.
However, this provision of this 2015 Texas law is valid for epilepsy patients only, meaning that other patients do not qualify for the use of low-THC CBD oil for medical purposes.
But here’s the catch — since the whole hemp/CBD market is still hardly regulated, it is still fairly common for users to get bottles containing more than what the producers are advertising.
Just last month police found out that some of the CBD products they tested were positive for illegal synthetic cannabinoids, which can be quite harmful to those looking for help in this new type of medicine.
Expansion of the medical marijuana law
Since 2015, the law pertaining to medical marijuana in Texas hasn’t changed. When Gov. Abbot signed the Texas Compassionate Use Act, he also said that he wouldn’t allow marijuana to be “passed as a medicine”.
“I remain convinced that Texas should not legalize marijuana, nor should Texas open the door for conventional marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes.”
However, he didn’t say anything about expanding the law to accommodate more patients with the use of low-THC CBD oil, and that’s exactly what’s happening now.
So, four years later we finally have an expansion bill that will increase the number of qualifying illnesses for medical cannabis in Texas.
Over three weeks ago, the Texas Senate voted on the expansion bill and approved it with a unanimous vote. As we mentioned before, the medical cannabis law currently allows patients with intractable epilepsy to get low-THC CBD oil.
With this expansion, all forms of epilepsy and seven other illnesses will be added to that list which included only one until now. If the House approves the expansion bill in its current format, a much wider audience will also be admitted to the program.
Unfortunately, the writers of the bill left out PTSD as the qualifying condition for medical CBD oil. This didn’t really sit too well with state Sen. Eddie Lucio.
“Why aren’t veterans who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, included in this bill?” Sen. Lucio asked.
In response to that, state Sen. Donna Campbell, who is spearheading the bill in the Senate, said there isn’t enough evidence to support the claim that CBD oil can effectively help with PTSD.
Other Senators were also worried that this was perhaps what Gov. Abbot initially feared – opening the door to the legalization of marijuana in Texas.
Senator Campbell made sure to point out that this expansion in no way allows for the entry of smokeable cannabis into the medical market, even though CBD oil can be smoked, as one of the senators pointed out.
The legalization of marijuana, either as medicine or a recreational drug, is not something politicians in Texas are keen on, so it doesn’t seem likely to happen any sooner than federal legalization of the plant.