Legislation

New Ban on Smokable Hemp Products

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Written by Paul James

Following federal legalization, Texas legalized hemp and the sale of cannabidiol (CBD) products back in 2019. While this law prohibited the manufacturing of hemp products that can be vaped and smoked, it technically allowed for out-of-state smokable products to be sold.

Still, Texas isn’t without its problems. When it comes to legalized hemp, many of those in law enforcement have complained about the inconsistencies with hemp and high-THC cannabis. The biggest issue is they don’t know whether or not they can prosecute an individual until cannabis is run through a lab analysis to test for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels.

The initial ban was largely to circumvent these complications. However, within a year, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) extended the ban to include retail sail of all smokable hemp products. This was put into effect on August 2nd, 2020.

Between 2019 and 2020, more than half of Texas’s legal cannabis revenue came from CBD flower. This has concerned many businesses within the state – with some brands expecting a $59.6 million loss in revenue over the next five years. Not to mention, a $2.9 million loss in sales tax revenue for the state.

A large arguing point for local hemp businesses is the fact that people are still allowed to purchase smokable hemp through the internet. With that, Texas regulators are simply undermining local companies which has a negative effect on the state’s CBD market.

Realizing the absurdity of this ban, four hemp companies within Texas took the state to court. On August 19th, Judge Lora Livingston ruled to temporarily lift the ban. This temporary restraining order (TRO) prevents the state from intervening with the sale of smokable hemp products.

While this TRO has provided small hemp businesses with the confidence that they will be able to continue sales, their fight isn’t over. The TRO will expire on September 2nd, 2020 – on that date, the state and companies will be back in court as the plaintiff has requested temporary injunctive relief.

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Paul James

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