In a unanimous vote, House Bill 1325 was approved by the Texas Senate on May 15. If it becomes law, the bill would legalize hemp as well as hemp-derived extracts as long as the THC percent is 0.03 percent or lower.
This decision follows closely after the Texas House of Representatives’ unanimous vote to allow hemp to be cultivated in the state, rather than being imported. “Hemp has thousands of uses and can be found in multiple commodities like seeds, oils, fibers and clothing,” said Sen. Charles Perry on the day of the Senate vote. “Hemp products can already be found in retail and various other grocery chains.”
There was brief discussion of hemp’s effectiveness as a smokable substance by Se. Juan Hinojosa, but Perry was quick to debunk the thought. “I guess you could theoretically smoke it; you’d get no effect from it, and the bill specifically prohibits manufacturing for the purpose of smoking.”
The Senate bill contains a few notable differences from its House counterpart. In this version, there are specific policies in place to allow random CBD oil testing, and requires that any business looking to sell CBD products to apply and receive a permit first. Law enforcement are also given extra power over product seizure if they believe that the crop in questions is actually cannabis.
Texas isn’t the only state considering hemp as a crop of the future. Governors in other states such as Iowa, Connecticut, Georgia and many more have already taken steps to legalize industrial hemp in various forms.
There will likely be a lot of discussion between the Texan House and Senate to agree on final bill terms, but it could be a great new frontier for the state. “Previously dormant pilot programs are all now activating after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill,” said cannabis Attorney Lisa Pittman told The Texas Tribune. “I personally believe Texas will become a leader in this arena since it’s already a big agriculture-producing state to begin with. Farmers have been looking to this bill as a lifeline to save their family farms.”