Legal hemp just got a huge boost from the ‘Big State Of Texas’! On Monday June 10th Governor Greg Abbott of Texas signed HB 1325 into law. This allows Texas farmers to grow hemp commercially. This is a significant development for the ongoing lifting of prohibition and the furtherance of a time of new possibilities for the American hemp industry.
The bill HB 1325 legalizes hemp and hemp-derived extracts. This includes CBD oil, as long as it contains no more than 0.3% THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis).
Even though the bill legalizes hemp production for hemp-based products, such as clothing, twine, fabric, extracts, protein powder, moisturizers and essential oils: it specifically prohibits manufacturing for the purpose of smoking. This might seem odd, due to the fact that you could not get ‘high’ with hemp, because of the almost negligible THC content. However, there are companies in other states that do produce hemp flower cigarettes.
The reworked version of the legislation, introduced by State Senator Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, requires the state to adopt random CBD oil testing policies for retail store sales as well as requiring permits for retail CBD oil sales. It will also create fines for farmers growing crops that contain THC above the allowed 0.3% limit.
Many lawmakers want to ensure that the bill would not open the door to recreational marijuana use. They wanted to make sure the bill had those provisions in place to prevent farmers from growing hemp with higher than 0.3% THC. It was necessary for the details of these and other regulations to be negotiated in a conference committee of the House and Senate before it could be signed into law. Now, the Texas Department of Agriculture will be working on the regulations to be in place by the 2020 growing season.
Although more than 40 other states have legalized hemp production, until now, other bills have failed in Texas in past legislative sessions. The passing of the Federal 2018 Farm Bill has prompted states to create their own hemp programs to avoid being under federal guidelines. Texas has the opportunity to be a leader in hemp production due to the fact that they are a big agriculture state. Many farmers in Texas and other agriculture states are eyeing hemp as a way and means to ensure the continuation of their family farm businesses.
The history, usefulness and value of hemp goes back thousands of years, throughout many cultures. Now, with the many advancements in manufacturing and technology, the possibilities of product development and manufacturing of hemp-based products is wide open. Hemp is a natural, non-toxic, nutritional, medicinal plant as well as a fibrous plant that can be used for producing various goods. Almost anything that is made from petroleum can be made from hemp, yet it is biodegradable, think plastics and fuel, to name only two possibilities.
We are in exciting times of advancement that can promise a natural stewardship of our environment and still provide avenues of tremendous growth and prosperity! With Texas becoming the 45th state to pass a bill to legalize hemp cultivation, it looks like there are bight days ahead for farmers and innovators across America.
*The Texas Tribune; thetexastribune.org , “Texas farmers could begin growing hemp under legislation gaining steam in both chambers” by Alex Samuels
*Vote Hemp, votehemp.com, Texas Becomes 45th Hemp State