Is Hemp Flower Legal In Texas?
When U.S. President signed the Farm Bill at the end of 2018, the door opened for many states to start growing hemp. Particularly those without recreational or medical cannabis laws in place.
Under this Bill, it became legal to cultivate industrial hemp, so long as it contained less than 0.3% THC by dry weight.
Texas, however, didn’t jump on board right away. But by June 2019, Texas Governor passed House Bill 1325 which authorized the production, manufacture, and retail sale of hemp and hemp-derived products.
But, there’s a bit of a gray area here, which we’ll cover in this article. Also, we’ll provide thorough answers to the two-pronged question of: is hemp flower legal in Texas to grow, and is hemp flower legal to consume?
In the meantime, we’ll give you the short answer. Yes, hemp flower is legal to grow and consume in the state of Texas. But keep reading to find out the nuanced answers for each of these questions.
Let’s get started!
Can Texas Farmers Legally Grow Hemp?
Yes, farmers in Texas are allowed to grow hemp once they apply for and receive a license to do so. All interested farmers must complete an application with the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) .
Let’s walk you through some important dates that led up to the legalization of hemp farming in Texas.
Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, signed House Bill 1325 on June 10, 2019, which went into effect immediately. Then in December 2019, TDA Commissioner, Sid Miller, and his staff submitted a plan to the USDA proposing the rules and regulations of its hemp farming program.
The USDA reviewed Texas’ plan and provided some comments, which the TDA addressed. After making the requested revisions, the USDA approved Texas’ hemp farming plan on January 27, 2020.
Several weeks later, after ironing out some final details, the Texas Department of Agriculture adopted its plan and started taking applications on March 16, 2020.
In early April 2020, Sid Miller announced that Texas granted its first hemp growing license to a farmer in Killeen, Texas.
Is CBD Legal in Texas?
After covering the hemp growing laws in Texas, let’s talk about whether CBD, the cannabinoid produced by the hemp plant, is legal.
For starters, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is the governing body that regulates consumable CBD hemp products. At this time, the DSHS allows registered Texas retailers to sell hemp-derived consumables within certain guidelines.
To comply with federal and state regulations, consumable hemp products cannot contain more than 0.3% THC. Additionally, the CBD products sold in retail stores, or online for that matter, cannot make any medical claims. Finally, the DSHS advises Texas residents to buy CBD products that are free of pesticides, heavy metals, residual solvents, and other harmful contaminants.
Seems fairly straight forward, right? So far yes, but it gets a little sticky because the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has federal jurisdiction over CBD based products. Essentially, whatever they say goes. Sadly, they haven’t said or done a lot yet.
The FDA is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the marketing of drugs, cosmetics, food, devices, and dietary supplements — and CBD hemp products fall within these categories.
But, they haven’t established the exact rules or requirements for marketing and selling CBD products. And this doesn’t only affect Texas, it affects all states in the U.S.
So, at this moment, Texas is doing the best they can with the information given. Until further notice, state retailers can carry and sell CBD-infused products like oils, tinctures, edibles, vapes, topicals, and hemp flower.
Texas Hemp Flower Laws
Texas is one of several states in the U.S. without medical or recreational cannabis laws — yet. So, when law enforcement sees people smoking cannabis, they’re having a hard time distinguishing whether it’s hemp flower or marijuana (high-THC) flower.
As long as marijuana remains illegal in Texas, law enforcement may assume that anyone smoking hemp flower is smoking marijuana. Sadly, there’s no test that can quickly determine whether a flower strain is below the legal limit of 0.3% THC.
Additionally, House Bill 1325 signed by the Texas Governor in June 2019, states that the processing and manufacturing of hemp flower (not all hemp) for Texas farmers are prohibited.
But, nothing in the Bill says anything about consumption. So, the key takeaway here is this. CBD hemp flower is legal in Texas.
If you want to buy some but only have limited options at your local retailer in Texas, try searching online. You can find high-quality hemp flower sold by top brands in the industry . We’ll dive into this a bit later in the article.
As a word to the wise, it’s probably best to avoid smoking your hemp flower or pre-rolls in public and remain as discreet as possible while smoking.
Is Hemp Flower Different Than Marijuana?
This is a good time to discuss the differences between hemp flower and marijuana. Hemp flower is one of the major components of the hemp plant. Besides flower, the plant also has stalks, seeds, and leaves. The flower stands out from the rest of the plant for its high CBD content. Of course, the stalks, seeds, and leaves have significant value too, but just in different ways.
Hemp flower buds contain high percentages of CBD and low percentages of THC. Some hemp strains even include small amounts of other non-intoxicating cannabinoids like CBG, CBC, CBN, and CBDV.
Whereas, marijuana strains generally have a high amount of THC and low amounts of CBD and other cannabinoids. Since THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) has psychoactive effects known to give users a ‘head high’, it’s been widely illegal in the U.S. since the War on Drugs began in 1970.
These two cannabis plants often get confused because they have a similar look and smell.
But, rest assured, with the U.S. Farm Bill in place, hemp flower can’t contain more than 0.3% THC. Although everyone has a unique response to smoking hemp, this minute percentage is too small to produce psychoactive effects.
How is CBD Hemp Flower Different Than Other CBD Products?
CBD hemp flower is gaining popularity due to its fast onset of effects. When you smoke hemp flower, the beneficial compounds reach your bloodstream immediately via your lungs. Many people love hemp flower for this reason alone.
Also, there are several ways to enjoy hemp flower, making this method appealing to a diverse range of people. Some users love to smoke it in a pipe, a water bong, or a pre-roll.
When you compare CBD hemp flower to products like CBD oil and gummies, the effects of these methods take a bit longer to feel. A tincture could take 30 minutes to one hour, whereas an edible can take one to two hours before the effects settle in.
However, the effects of these two consumption methods are longer-lasting, so that’s an advantage to many people.
Where to Buy Hemp Flower in Texas
As we mentioned earlier, if you can’t find a premium hemp flower that’s organic and lab-tested, you’ll have a lot more success finding it online.
Plus, when you shop online you have the benefit of reading about the strain type, its possible effects, CBD percentages, its origin, and the third-party lab reports. If you can’t find a copy of the lab report, called the Certificate of Analysis (COA), send an email to the CBD company and ask for one. They should be more than happy to send it over.
Once you get a copy of the COA you’ll be able to verify the percentage of CBD shown on the website. Also, it will show you what the THC percentage is. Remember, the laws state that CBD flower cannot have more than 0.3% THC. You can easily find out the percentage of THC when reading the cannabinoid profile, which is part of the Certificate of Analysis.
Lastly, buying online gives you a chance to read reviews from customers who’ve tried the strain. You can get valuable insights from their feedback which can help you decide on the hemp strain that’s best for you.
As a company that loves hemp and strives to share its benefits with the masses, we only provide the best in quality for our customers. We start by sourcing our CBD flower from expert hemp growers in Oregon. These farmers use organic and sustainable farming methods to ensure safe crops and preservation of the land.
Also, we send our flower to third-party labs for testing. Check out reviews from our happy and grateful customers to read what they love about our organic CBD nugs.
Interested in trying CBD hemp flower for the first time? If you’re a resident of Texas, this guide will answer all your questions and help get you started.
Texas Hemp Flower Ban Can’t Go Into Effect Until At Least Feb 2021
Update October 2020: A Texas court blocked the Texas smokable hemp flower ban, preventing it from going into effect until next year.
On September 17, 2020, Texas Judge Lora Livingston extended a temporary restraining order blocking the hemp flower ban. The policy would ban sales of hemp flower intended for smoking, though other forms of hemp would remain legal.
As previously reported, Judge Livingston blocked the policy at an initial court appearance after hearing arguments from plaintiffs with the pro-cannabis nonprofit Informed Texas. With the extension, the ban cannot go into effect until after the court trial, when the judge will hear further arguments about the legality of the policy. The extension allows hemp flower sales to continue until at least February 1, 2021, the next court date.
While Judge Livingston could still decide to allow the policy to go into effect, this decision seems encouraging for the Texas hemp industry.
Previously: Texas Hemp Flower Ban Could Hurt Texas Hemp Industry
Previously: The Texas Department of State and Health Services’ issued new rules banning retail sales, processing, marketing and manufacturing of smokable hemp flower products. The ban was due to go into effect on August 2, 2020. While the full impact of the Texas hemp flower ban is still unknown, we want to share with you how this new policy is already impacting consumers, businesses, and the Texas economy.
In May 2019, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill that legalized hemp in Texas, including growing, production, and sale of hemp products. The law banned production of smokable hemp products in Texas, but not sales. Hemp advocates think that this ban was necessary to help the bill pass.
Fast forward to this summer, when the Lone Star State announced these new policies, which ban hemp marketed for smoking. Over 1,600 individuals submitted comments opposing the ban, but the rule was passed anyway against industry and consumer opposition.
The Texas hemp flower ban also bans sales of CBD vaping products.
It’s important to note that selling raw hemp flower did not get banned in Texas, only the sale of hemp marketed for smoking. The new policies don’t put any restrictions on how consumers use the hemp, including smoking it. Ultimately, anyone selling hemp flower can not market it as a smokable product. They can advertise it as a food additive like cannabutter, a topping for a smoothie, or perhaps to be brewed into a tea.
The industry responded quickly, launching a lawsuit and obtaining a temporary restraining order against the policy.
Nevertheless, it’s now harder to access hemp for wellness in Texas. Consumers and industry alike will have to navigate the new complications the hemp ban represents.
Texas consumers and businesses lose education and easy access to hemp smoking products
Even people who don’t smoke hemp seem shocked to hear about the ban.
“Most of our consumers are either taken off guard because they were unaware of it, or not surprised, said Amos Lozano, co-founder of Emjayze Hemp.
“‘Sounds like Texas’ is a phrase I’ve heard a lot.”
Emjayze Hemp now sells pre-made “tea rolls.” That is, a product marketed with the idea that consumers pick up a pre-rolled pack of hemp tea, untwist the top of a single serving and put it into their beverage or food of choice.
Local hemp retailers must shift away from fully educating their customers on how to use hemp products. Customers now need to educate themselves about the benefits of inhalation outside of a natural face-to-face encounter. All because the Texas legislature doesn’t want to allow businesses to discuss a common method of consuming hemp products.
Vaping consumers could be hurt even more than hemp smokers
Since they can still possess and use the products, it might seem like the Texas hemp flower ban doesn’t really affect consumers. It actually creates a significant barrier to consumers who use hemp for pain relief.
“‘Sounds like Texas’ is a phrase I’ve heard a lot.”
Hemp entrepreneur Amos Lozano on the Texas hemp flower ban
“What I’ve seen is that the sale of flower has come down to retail locations deciding to either sell it or not sell it,” Lozano told us. “The real people who are losing in this ban are those who use vaping products because there isn’t a way to get around it.”
While Lozano can pivot to selling “tea” or hemp flower as a food additive, there’s no similar workaround for vapes.
Sadly, this could lead to people seeking other, less safe methods for pain relief. Many consumers report vaping or smoking CBD-rich hemp is one of the fastest ways to find relief. Cutting out people’s ease of access to their medicine is only creating unnecessary barriers.
Hemp flower ban hurts Texas hemp industry amid economic crisis
Marijuana Moment reported on August 6, 2020, that four Texas companies filed a lawsuit against the ban.
The companies are suing on the grounds that the ban violates the state constitution. They’re also arguing that the Department of State and Health Services exceeded its authority with the ban.
The plaintiffs argue that Texas would lose an estimated 2.9 million dollars in sales tax revenue over the next five years. Crown Distributing, LLC, the lead plaintiff, stands to lose $59.6 million in revenue over the same time period.
“At a time when the Texas economy is reeling from the fiscal impact of COVID-19, it is unfortunate that the State chose to foreclose such a large economic opportunity for our state,” attorney Chelsie Spencer, counsel for Crown Distributing told Marijuana Moment.
On August 19, 2020, Informed Texas reported that the judge in the lawsuit issued a temporary restraining order. This extends the status quo, allowing sales of smokable hemp and vaping products for 14 days until the next hearing. Plaintiffs will be back in court on September 2, 2020.
“It’s awesome that those companies took action immediately to file the lawsuit,” Lozano said, when asked about the lawsuit launched by other brands. “I’m happy that those people pulled their resources together so quickly.”
Lozano looks to the good with the bad with Texas hemp flower ban
As Texas crawls out of cannabis prohibition, proper regulation is vital as it explores the healing properties of hemp and beyond.
Through all the change, there has been a little bit of good come out of this situation. Lozano hopes it leads to a focus on other uses for hemp.
“I’ve talked a lot about what I don’t like about the ban, but let’s talk about what I do like about it,” he said.
“What I like about it is that there is a shift to focus on industrial hemp. The plant can produce plastics, construction materials, and people can do more with it besides smoking it.”
Lozano said that he believes the Texas ban hemp flower ban, along with any similar rules, will look silly someday. And despite the ban, he remains hopeful for the future of Texas cannabis culture.
The Texas hemp ban ultimately directly impacts education, marketing, and tax revenue around smokable hemp and CBD vaping products. While Texas is continuing to make great strides towards better cannabis policies, laws such as this just make Texas to lose out on valuable tax revenue and slow the growth of the industry.
Lozano says he’ll keep selling his tea and hope the lawsuit succeeds.
“Right now, all we can do is sit back, wait, and watch eagerly.”
Although temporarily blocked, the Texas hemp flower ban would prevent the sale or marketing of hemp products intended for smoking or vaping.