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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Hemp legislation passes Texas House

tx hemp

The Texas House of Representatives has passed legislation legalizing the cultivation of hemp, and it is expected to be passed by the Senate and signed by Governor Greg Abbott.

HB 1325, authored by Rep. Tracy King (D-Batesville), would allow Texas farmers to begin growing the crop. Hemp products have already been legal to possess, though the plant had to be imported from other countries. The unofficial vote count showed unanimous support on the House floor, with 144 voting in favor, and one legislator present and not voting.

This follows the federal government legalizing the growing of hemp late last year. The plant has often been confused with the marijuana plant, both of which are from the cannabis plant family and have some similar characteristics, though hemp does not have enough THC to produce a euphoric effect.

Concerns about the hiding of marijuana within hemp crops have subsided over the years, as hemp would effectively cross-pollinate and choke out any nearby marijuana crops. There are still issues with law enforcement not having the training or the tools to tell one plant from another, as there have been instances where entire shipments of hemp have been detained and those transporting it arrested.

Similar legislation had been proposed during the 2017 legislation session, though it never went anywhere as state officials feared running afoul of federal law.

Hemp was originally made illegal to grow in 1970 due to its similarities to marijuana.

Texas lawmaker whose bill allowed medical cannabis oil wants to expand its use in 2019

skliGov. Greg Abbott displays SB339 as Rep. John Zerwas, Rep. Stephanie Klick and Sen. Kevin Eltife watch. The bill would allow limited use of medical marijuana oil that will control seizures in epileptic children.

Four years after she authored legislation that legalized the sale of medical cannabis oil to Texans suffering from a small number of conditions, Republican state Rep. Stephanie Klick plans to push to expand the list of eligible patients in 2019.

On Thursday, the Fort Worth representative filed House Bill 3703, which would give Texans with multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and spasticity access to medical cannabis oil containing low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive element in marijuana known as THC.

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The latest prospects for marijuana reform in Texas: Both major parties pushing for changes at Capitol

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Lawmakers have filed 13 bills related to marijuana policy so far this session, with Gov. Greg Abbott signaling he is on board with reducing penalties for possession of small amounts of pot.

Many states have approved the use of marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes. To date, the only major piece of legislation in Texas is the use of low-THC oil for children suffering from intractable epilepsy.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has approved 40 doctors from three clinics for the prescription of low-THC cannabis. The three companies providing low-THC cannabis in Texas are Cansortium Texas, based in Schulenberg; Compassionate Cultivation in Manchaca, just south of Austin; and Surterra Wellness in Austin.

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Texas Marijuana Advocates Set Sights on 2019 Legislative Session

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Texas is poised for historic action in 2019 to ease some marijuana prohibitions and join a national cannabis legalization movement that, to varying degrees, has already swept up all four of its border states.

Or maybe not.

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Cannabis Bills Pre-Filed For 2019 Texas Legislative Session

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November 12 marks the first day of pre-filing of legislation for the 2019 Texas legislative session. Cannabis law reform is an issue gearing up for major push again following strong support from legislature in 2017 despite no bills making it to the floor of the Texas House of Representatives.

As of publishing time, the total stands at 10, and will likely continue to rise. Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy has been keeping an eye on the bills as they are introduced, and will keep an updated list throughout the session here.

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