Texas Senate Unanimously Approves Hemp Legalization Bill

Photo by Brendan Cleak 2017

Wednesday at the Texas Capitol was hump day — or hemp day, state Sen. Charles Perry joked before the upper chamber unanimously approved a bill that would legalize the farming of industrial hemp in Texas.

After a relatively short, amiable debate, the Texas Senate approved House Bill 1325 by state Rep. Tracy King. The bill would legalize hemp and hemp-derived extracts like CBD oil as long as they contain no more than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive element in marijuana known as THC. While hemp-based products that contain no THC — like clothing and twine, protein powder, moisturizers and essential oils — are legal in the state, the plant cannot be legally grown here and Texas businesses often have to source it from other states or even countries.

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The Race to Re-Learn Hemp Farming

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Angela Post wasn’t supposed to study hemp. The North Carolina State agriculture researcher focuses on small grains like wheat and barley. But after the 2014 Farm Bill allowed states to investigate hemp, it became clear the seeds were lucrative. Post had the right equipment to study them, so the job was hers.

The bill legalizes the crop, allowing any farmer to grow it — whether or not they know how.

At first, Post thought hemp would get as much attention as the other alternative crops she and her colleagues dabble in. “We didn’t know how fast it would grow,” she says. Once the work garnered the attention of hundreds of would-be hemp farmers, “that’s when we got a sense it was something bigger than anticipated.”

Since then, Post’s work has expanded beyond hemp seeds — and her expertise — to fiber and flowers, which contain cannabidiol, or CBD, which is extracted for use in seizure medications and over-the-counter tinctures. But there’s no turning down hemp studies if you’re an agricultural researcher in one of the states where residents might want to grow the crop, including North Carolina, Vermont, and Kentucky.

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Merry Christmas: Hemp and Hemp-Based CBD Are Now Legal

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This has been a transformational year for the cannabis industry, one that investors will possibly never forget. Although it’s been a bit rough on the investment front, with the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF, a basket of more than four dozen pot stocks, losing approximately 40% of its value, 2018 has been a year of gained validity for the cannabis industry.

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Industrial Hemp is Now Included in the 2018 Farm Bill

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In a move that marks a major shift in U.S. agriculture and drug policy, House and Senate lawmakers have come to an agreement over the status of industrial hemp in H.R. 2, The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. Known as the 2018 Farm Bill, H.R. 2 includes far-reaching provisions that lift the ban on hemp, authorize hemp production and research and amend the Controlled Substances Act. Furthermore, the reconciled version of the Farm Bill paves the way for the federal regulation of hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) extracts. For hemp CBD consumers, that would mean both better product consistency and quality and an end to the legal ambiguity of hemp CBD.