Texas has taken a significant move in removing hemp from its list of controlled substances, which could be the first step towards a full CBD boom in the state.
As of April 5, 2019, The Texas Department of State Health Services no longer classifies hemp as a Schedule I substance. The prior classification meant it had a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical benefits. The move puts Texas in line with the changes regarding hemp classification made in the 2018 Farm Bill.
The key to creating industrial hemp production in the state is House Bill 1325 by Rep. Tracy King (D). Current laws in Texas allow some hemp-derived CBD products to be imported into and sold in the state, but the plant can’t be grown in Texas. Rep. King has been pushing for the legislation since 2015, but the bill now has bipartisan support from the Texas Republican Party and top GOP leaders in the state.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, a staunch conservative, has spoken out in support for legalizing hemp farming in the state.
“If CBD oil will help you physically, I’m for it, Not only do we want our farmers to be able to grow hemp, we want the processing facilities to be located here in rural Texas and bring those jobs to rural Texas,” he said to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth. “You just watch. There is going to be more hemp grown (in Texas) than we could ever process.”
During a hearing earlier this week at a hearing room in the state capitol, roughly 20 members of the public showed up to testify in support of CBD. No one spoke out against it at the hearing.
“I know it’s a viable crop for Texas, and I believe we should have the right to grow it,” said Jeff Williams, a West Texas farmer and rancher. “I know many, many farmers who have struggled throughout the years and would welcome an opportunity to plant hemp.”
Although the nine-member Committee on Agriculture did not vote on the bill during the hearing, King is “very optimistic” the bipartisan and public support will help it pass to the full Texas house.