People have always said that cannabis will never be legal in conservative Texas, but it seems like the impossible is on the horizon. On April 5th the great state of Texas removed hemp from the list of controlled substances. The Texas Department of State Health Services will no longer classify hemp as a Schedule 1 drug which puts it on a very restricted list with LSD, heroin, and ecstasy.
As great as this news is, hemp’s declassification does not necessarily make hemp legal right away, and it changes nothing for marijuana laws. Texas lawmakers are going to debate a multitude of bills on Monday to hopefully clarify issues like labeling, testing products, whether ingestible CBD oil must be approved by the FDA, as well as how law enforcement should enforce cannabis laws. Furthermore, the 2018 hemp bill (which made hemp federally legal) says you have to grow under a state sanctioned program which we currently do not have in Texas. The state would have to establish such a program in order for farmers to actually grow hemp on Texas land.
Cannabis laws can be pretty confusing across the country, but they are especially odd in Texas. The Texas Compassionate Use Act of 2015 technically made it medically legal in Texas but it is a very difficult process so it might as well not be considered legal. Texans must have a specific form of epilepsy, then they have to try 2 FDA approved drugs first, then get approval from 2 of the very few doctors in the state allowed to give such approval, then get the product which has to have less than 0.3% THC from one of the few companies allowed to produce it for more than it should reasonably cost.
Cannabis has two species, hemp and marijuana. Hemp contains around 20% cbd and less than 1% thc, while marijuana contains around 10% cbd and 20-30% thc. THC is the psychoactive compound that gives people the high, while CBD does not give you a high it does have some amazing health benefits. Nonetheless, up to this point the state law has still considered hemp and marijuana to be the same thing and for the most part enforces it that way. You’d be surprised even in 2019 how many people around here see cannabis and heroin to be one in the same, much less differentiate hemp and marijuana. Texas still has a long way to go, as does the nation as a whole, but once again this is progress in the right direction.