Texas lawmakers just passed a new bill that will allow farmers in the state to grow hemp. Although the bill has officially been signed into law, it is unclear when exactly it will go into effect.
Texas’s New Hemp Cultivation Bill
House Bill 1325, which permits farmers in Texas to grow hemp, received consistently broad support from lawmakers. In particular, the bill cleared both the House and Senate unanimously.
Following those votes, the bill was passed to the desk of Governor Greg Abbott. And Monday, he signed the bill into law.
Under the terms of House Bill 1325, farmers in Texas will be allowed to cultivate hemp plants. In order to begin growing hemp, farmers must first pay a fee to obtain a cultivation license. Additionally, hemp farmers will have to pay for regular testing and inspections of their product.
Additionally, farmers approved and licensed to grow hemp will need to make their growing facilities available for further inspection by law enforcement.
As per local news source KENS5, even before this new bill was signed into law, it was legal in Texas to sell and consume products made from hemp. However, prior to the passage of House Bill 1325, it was not legal for anybody to grow hemp. Now, the state’s new bill changes that.
For now, it is unclear when the new law will actually go into effect. State lawmakers are reportedly waiting for further clarification on federal hemp laws before enacting anything in Texas.
Specifically, KENS5 reported that once the federal government specifies national hemp rules, officials from the Texas department of agriculture plan to consult back and forth with federal officials to ensure that state rules are in line with federal rules.
It seems likely that this process will take at least through the end of the year to complete. According to local news sources, experts think the earliest farmers in Texas will be able to actually begin growing hemp is 2020.
Ongoing Changes to Hemp Laws
In many ways, Texas’s new hemp cultivation law piggybacks on larger changes to national hemp laws. Specifically, the Farm Bill of 2018.
Along with several other changes to national agriculture policy, this bill introduced key changes to federal rules regarding hemp. Some of the biggest changes include:
- authorizing hemp as a crop that qualifies for subsidies and crop insurance.
- opens the door to federal research into hemp, hemp cultivation, and hemp production.
- moves hemp off the list of Schedule I controlled substances.
- allows for the interstate commerce of hemp. Importantly, this is supposed to mean that people are supposed to be allowed to travel with CBD products—as long as the CBD comes from hemp plants without any THC.
In general, the key to these changes in hemp laws has to do with the amount of THC in the plants. Specifically, hemp plants tend to have enough CBD to be used as the source of a broad range of CBD products. At the same time, most hemp plants do not have enough THC to get you high. As a result, hemp plants and hemp-derived CBD products can skirt around cannabis prohibition laws.