Yes! Hemp-derived CBD oil is legal to grow, purchase, and consume in Texas as long as it contains less than 0.3 percent THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol.
Though it’s exciting being able to purchase hemp products in Texas, understanding the key events, bills, and individuals who helped achieve their legalization is essential. It helps us gain deeper insight into the role CBD plays in our lives and how this might differ across states like Nebraska and South Carolina.
Here’s everything you need to know in order to answer the question—is CBD oil legal in Texas?
Texas’ Path to Hemp Legalization: Who, What, When, and Where
The journey to legalizing hemp was a challenging one, with some complexities and bills that failed to find their footing. But the good news is, each bill/event had a silver lining that helped steer Texas towards hemp legalization.
2015 - SB 339/Compassionate Use Act
In 2015, the 84th Texas Legislative Session established the Texas Compassionate Use Act. This allowed patients of any age with certain medical conditions and a doctor’s prescription to purchase cannabis products with up to 0.5 percent THC. This bill was later updated in 2019 to include additional medical conditions. There are currently three state-licensed companies allowed to grow, produce, and sell cannabis-based medicine.
2017 - HB 3587
In April 2017, HB 3587 was passed unanimously from a House committee and needed to be passed by the House of Representatives to be approved. This would allow hemp to be grown and marketed in Texas under a federal pilot program—a program in accordance with the 2014 Farm Bill (31 other states were part of this program at that time).
With HB 3587, committee members, farmers, and university researchers were hoping this bill would help the state overcome the negativity surrounding hemp and define hemp as being distinct from marijuana. Moreover, they wanted to shed light on the economic benefits it can provide for Texas. Advocates stressed the numerous uses of hemp and how Texas has the best climate to cultivate the crops.
HB 3587 was unfortunately never scheduled for a vote on the House floor despite broad support from the state’s farming industry.
April 2019 - Removal of Hemp From List of Controlled Substances
Following the footsteps of the 2018 Farm Bill, Texas Department of State Health Services removed hemp from its list of controlled substances on April 5, 2019. Though this was definitely progress, it didn’t technically make hemp products legal in the state.
State law still defined hemp and marijuana as the same substance and illegal for use and sale in most cases. Also, Texas didn’t have a state-sanctioned program to grow their hemp, which put even more restrictions on it.
Thus, it put the Lone Star State in a grey area when it came to CBD. Oil, gummies, creams, and other CBD products (with trace amounts of THC) had been on store shelves for years and were technically illegal.
The only people who were allowed to legally purchase these products were the patients who were part of the Compassionate Use Act. State lawmakers had plans to debate multiple bills that would hopefully amend the definition of hemp and the existing criminal penalties involved for buying and selling it. Moreover, they needed to clarify how to label and test these products to ensure the safety of Texas consumers.
June 2019 - HB 1325
On June 10, 2019, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott signed HB 1325. This officially established hemp products with less than 0.3 percent THC as legal and created a federally approved program that allowed farmers to grow hemp as an industrial crop. This program would include plans to sample, inspect, and test hemp crops and products.
The hemp growing license and permit applications opened online on March 16, 2020.
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What the Future Holds for Texas
With CBD oil and other hemp-derived products now legally available to grow, sell, and purchase, this has started to pave the way for the decriminalization of marijuana. HB 1325 changed people’s perception and definition of hemp. Moreover, it raised the question of how law enforcement would know whether something was hemp or marijuana.
For example, in 2020, the Austin city council unanimously passed agenda item 59. It was a proposal that would deprioritize low-level marijuana possession. In other words, it would end most arrests for people who had small amounts of marijuana.
District attorneys expressed that they wouldn’t have the resources and money readily available to test whether something was marijuana or hemp (how much THC is in a plant). As a result, the number of marijuana cases dropped by more than half across the state.
This has caused friction between Austin and the state. State lawmakers have adamantly expressed that HB 1325 doesn’t decriminalize marijuana, yet it was passed without any crime lab funding attached. The Department of Public Safety made plans to establish a new testing method they hope to roll out this year.
Clearly, people across the state have differing opinions, so it’ll be interesting to see how this situation pans out in the coming months and years.
Where Can I Find CBD Oil in Texas?
Texas residents can get CBD oil in shops throughout the state and online. You can even find cafes that offer CBD-infused coffee beverages.
With its rapid demand and growth, remember to be observant. Just because a bottle might say “CBD” on it doesn’t mean it carries the right compounds/concentration levels it may claim to have. So be sure to do your research and be watchful of what you’re putting into your body.