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USDA Approves Texas Hemp Plan

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Texas’ bundle of hemp regulation plans, which has been long awaited by residents, was officially approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Jan. 27.

According to CBS DSW, State Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller reported this news early last week, and has it down as a major win for the state. Like many, he sees the benefits a legal hemp industry could bring for the local farming industry. “This is a victory for Texas farmers,” Miller said in a statement, according to CBS DSW. “We are one step closer to giving our ag producers access to this exciting new crop opportunity.”

The Farm Bill in Texas, officially passed in 2018 and signed into law in 2019, fully legalized the commercial production of hemp in the state. It also launched the official hemp market. In addition to allowing for the growing, selling and regulating of hemp products, it legalized consumable CBD derived from hemp crops for personal use. However, despite the fact that the bill was passed, hemp was decriminalized and a sales market opened up, it still isn’t technically legal to grow hemp in Texas.

In fact, Miller himself makes it clear it is still not yet legal to grow hemp within state borders despite the work that has been done so far. Still, things are close. “We’ve got to get our rules approved and get our licensing program up and running, but the dominoes are dropping pretty quick,” he said. “We’re almost there.”

Despite its slow approach, Texas officials have still been making progress in the cannabis realm. The city of Austin recently decided to drop low-level cannabis convictions, and there has clearly been some gray-area blurring since hemp legalization first took place. A cannabis farming industry will do well in the quickly changing state.