Starting a Side Hustle as a Sole Proprietorship in Texas

A sole proprietorship is an entrepreneur’s simplest business structure in Texas. While there are benefits to consider in the strengthened protection of a limited liability company or a corporation, people starting “side-hustles” often begin with a sole proprietorship. This simple method allows the new business owner to dip their feet into the pool. Some–through inertia or strategy–may simply continue the structure as the business grows. 

The sole proprietorship initiation process lacks the layers of legal requirements standard in other business structures, but it does involve several steps that business owners should follow. A local law firm, like Ritter Spencer, can help new entrepreneurs successfully start a sole proprietorship in Texas. Read below to learn how to take the first step in your sole proprietorship. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCStarting a Side Hustle as a Sole Proprietorship in Texas
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The Differences Between Marijuana Legalization and Marijuana Decriminalization

As marijuana laws change nationwide, buzzwords such as “legalization” and “decriminalization” arise in the national discourse. State and local governments debate legalization and decriminalization, which may lead to confusion in distinguishing the two terms. In the context of manufacturing and selling cannabis products, decriminalization and legalization have vastly different implications. Since states have different standards for the legality of marijuana, it is important to know the difference between decriminalization and legalization to avoid conflict and confusion when examining your state’s marijuana laws.

Ritter Spencer, PLLCThe Differences Between Marijuana Legalization and Marijuana Decriminalization
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Southern Hostility: Southern States’ Stances on Marijuana

Northern and western regions of the U.S. have propelled the national marijuana reform movement in recent years. From the passing of the Rhode Island Cannabis Act to new developments by The New York Cannabis Control Board, northern states continue to lead recent charges in marijuana legalization.  But for a few exceptions, the Southern states continue to lag woefully behind. 

Southern states have displayed greater resistance to marijuana reform than their northern counterparts. But as the demand for cannabis legalization grows nationally, southern state legislators are taking small steps toward alleviating marijuana restrictions. Read on to explore the South’s stance on the legalization of marijuana state by state.

Ritter Spencer, PLLCSouthern Hostility: Southern States’ Stances on Marijuana
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Texas Supreme Court Maintains Ban on Smokable Hemp Processing and Manufacturing

On Friday, July 1st, 2022, the Texas Supreme Court unanimously reinstated the statutory ban on the processing and manufacturing of smokable hemp products. The Texas Supreme Court found that the hemp companies involved in the challenge had no constitutionally protected right of economic liberty in their chosen profession of smokable hemp processing and manufacturing. Previously, the trial court found the statutory ban to be unconstitutional and entered a permanent injunction against state enforcement of the ban after a lower court rejected the ban in 2019. Read below to learn more about this continued prohibition on smokable hemp and its history. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCTexas Supreme Court Maintains Ban on Smokable Hemp Processing and Manufacturing
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Rep. King Files Hemp Production and Regulation Bill: HB 3948

We anticipate a substitute filing by Representative King that will substantially change some of the language discussed in this blog.

On March 11, 2021, Rep. Tracy King (D) filed HB 3948 that focuses on the regulation and production of hemp and consumable hemp products in Texas. This bill provides administrative penalties, imposes and authorizes fees, and creates criminal offenses. Additionally, the bill covers higher institutions, permissible THC content, additives, synthetics, and more. Below, we’ve summarized this bill to keep you in-the-know with Texas hemp legislation. The Senate version of this bill is SB 1776. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCRep. King Files Hemp Production and Regulation Bill: HB 3948
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How to Open a Dispensary in Texas

Although Texas has a medical marijuana program, as established by the Texas Compassionate Use Act in 2015, only three “Dispensing Organizations” have been granted licenses by the Texas Department of Safety (“DPS”) to cultivate, process, and dispense low-THC cannabis (up to a 0.5 percent THC limit as of the date of this blog) in Texas to prescribed patients. See 37 Tex. Admin. Code § 12.1. Texas is a vertically integrated state, meaning that the Dispensing Organization must cultivate, process, package, and dispense the medical marijuana.


Ritter Spencer, PLLCHow to Open a Dispensary in Texas
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The Smokable Hemp Ban in Texas is Enjoined Until 2021

In June of 2019, the state of Texas passed HB 1325, which, in part, authorizes and directs the Texas Department of State Health Services (“DSHS”) to enact rules regarding the processing and manufacturing of smokable hemp products. See Tex. Health & Safety Code § 443.204(4). In August of 2020, DSHS banned the processing, manufacturing, distribution, and retail sale of smokable hemp products throughout the state of Texas. See Tex. Admin. Code § 300.104. With its excessive regulations, DSHS essentially stifled the smokable hemp market in Texas, forcing existing companies, such as Crown Distributing LLC (“Crown”), to move their businesses out of state.

Ritter Spencer, PLLCThe Smokable Hemp Ban in Texas is Enjoined Until 2021
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The Growing Market of Smokable Hemp and Its Legal Obstacles

The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (the “2018 Farm Bill”) established that hemp is to be treated similarly to other legal agricultural commodities and traded in standard interstate commerce as a raw material. However, the 2018 Farm Bill governs only state production programs and specifically permits states to enact more stringent regulations than those contained in the Bill. As a result, legal hemp has facilitated the emergence of a wide array of consumer products and uses. Specifically, smokable hemp has made a significant presence in the cannabis and hemp markets and continues to grow despite the increasing legality of other forms of cannabis that often include higher concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”). Below, we discuss the smokable hemp industry and the legal challenges it faces as it comes to fruition. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCThe Growing Market of Smokable Hemp and Its Legal Obstacles
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Ritter Spencer Files Lawsuit Challenging Smokable Hemp Bans in Texas

Yesterday, our office filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of State Health Services (“DSHS”) on behalf of our client, Crown Distributing LLC (“Crown”), challenging the smokable hemp bans in Texas. A copy of our filed Petition can be accessed here.

Ritter Spencer, PLLCRitter Spencer Files Lawsuit Challenging Smokable Hemp Bans in Texas
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DSHS Final Rules

The Texas Department of State Health Services (“DSHS”) adopted and published its final rules governing the Texas consumable hemp program (the “DSHS Final Rules”) to the Texas Register. The DSHS Final Rules become effective on August 2, 2020. Any potential changes to the statute governing our hemp program will not occur until the Texas Legislature reconvenes in January of 2021.  

To the detriment of many in the Texas hemp industry, the DSHS Final Rules only slightly diverge from the DSHS Proposed Rules. Our prior blog series on the DSHS Proposed Rules provided an in-depth analysis of the proposed DSHS rules. This blog focuses on the changes made by DSHS in the adopted Final Rules. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCDSHS Final Rules
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