Texas has never been known as a particularly 420-friendly state. And recent actions taken by law enforcement at the Dallas-Forth Worth Airport make clear that the state remains unaccommodating to anything related to cannabis.
More specifically, recent investigations by journalists in Texas found that customs officers at DFW Airport are detaining and in some cases arresting people for carrying CBD in their luggage.
The new investigation was carried out and reported on by Texas news source NBC 5 Investigates.
According to the station, officers at the airport routinely confiscate CBD from travelers. And in many cases, law enforcement goes as far as detaining and even arresting travelers caught with CBD.
Even worse, some passengers end up facing felony drug charges for trying to travel with CBD.
According to these new investigations, there has been a sharp uptick in the number of CBD-related incidents at the airport.
Interestingly, this crackdown on CBD comes as federal and state laws appear to be more open to CBD.
For example, Texas lawmakers are currently working on CBD-related legislation. Specifically, House Bill 1325 was approved by the Texas House of Representatives just last week. As a result, it has now moved on for consideration in the state Senate.
Importantly, if this bill passes into law, it will make it legal to grow hemp in the state. Additionally, it would remove hemp from the state’s list of controlled substances. And finally, it would ultimately legalize CBD and CBD products.
In many ways, this move to legalize hemp and hemp-derived CBD echoes recent changes at the federal level. Specifically, the 2018 Farm Bill.
This bill, which was signed into law in late 2018, introduces a number of changes to agricultural laws.
And as far as cannabis goes, the Farm Bill authorizes the production and research of hemp. Additionally, the Farm Bill also removes hemp from the federal list of Schedule I banned substances.
And most relevant for law enforcement at DFW Airport, the Farm Bill allows for the interstate commerce of hemp and hemp CBD.
Yet despite these changes, law enforcement and customs agents at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport insist that CBD is a federally banned illegal substance.
So much so, in fact, that they are using this as their pretext for confiscating CBD and arresting travelers caught with CBD.
As per NBC 5 Investigates, a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said that “CBD oil is considered a controlled substance under U.S. Federal law.”
That spokesperson added: “Travelers found in possession of controlled substances at U.S. ports of entry can face arrest, seizures, fines, penalties or denied entry.”
But many disagree with the CBP’s take on things. In particular, Attorney Jonathan Miller told NBC 5 Investigates that the 2018 Farm Bill allows travelers to transport CBD products—as long as they are made from hemp.
“Federal law is very clear,” Miller said. “And when a Customs official pulls someone over for this, he or she is acting in the wrong.”
Miller added: “I am hopeful they can use their resources and their time on things that actually hurt people.”
In general, and especially in the wake of last year’s Farm Bill, CBD products are less risky from a legal perspective. Typically, that’s especially true when the CBD is derived from hemp plants with minimal to zero THC.
Clearly, confusion persists. And apparently, law enforcement agencies are among some of the most confused.