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.
The United States’ hemp industry is a constant work-in-progress; however, the country has made significant strides in establishing a domestic hemp production program. The United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) recently released its final rule, which has been long-awaited by the hemp community. Read below for a recap of recent progress as a reminder to continue putting forth effort and energy toward uniform cannabis legislation in the United States.
On January 19, 2021, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) put forth a final rule to concretely establish a domestic hemp production program. This final rule becomes effective on March 22, 2021, and puts forth structured rules, regulations, and guidelines regarding the production of hemp nationwide. The USDA’s final rule is a provisional response to the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Bill), which permitted states and tribal nations to participate in hemp production programs and removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act’s (CSA) definition of marijuana. Until the issuance of this final ruling, the USDA had previously only released an interim final rule, which was open to public comments and suggested revisions. Below, we break down the distinguishing and notable provisions the USDA incorporated into this new framework.
If you joined us for Parts I through III of this Series, you will know that the Texas Department of State Health Services (“DSHS”) published its proposed rules to govern the Texas consumable hemp program (the “DSHS Proposed Rules”) in the Texas Register on May 8, 2020. The DSHS Proposed Rules are open for public comment for 31 days, meaning the public comment period closes on June 7, 2020. To provide comment on any of the draft rules, you can submit your comments directly to DSHS via email to [email protected]. When emailing comments, you will need to indicate “Comments on Proposed Rule 19R074 Hemp Program” in the subject line. Written comments may also be submitted to Rod Moline, Ph.D., R.S., Section Director, Mail Code 1987, Texas Department of State Health Services, P.O. Box 149347, Austin, Texas 78714-9347.
After learning the application and hemp license holder requirements in Part I of this Series and the rules and procedures regarding the sampling and testing of hemp in Part II, it is now time to turn to the TDA plan’s provisions covering violations, license suspension and revocation, hemp transportation, and hemp seed requirements.
As a hemp license holder, if you violate the TDA plan, it is imperative to comply with any enforcement action or corrective action plan imposed by the TDA in order to avoid any further negative consequences for you and/or your hemp operations.
Now that you have read Part I of the Revised TDA Hemp Production Plan series on the application and license requirements for hemp producers, it is crucial to understand the rules and methods for the sampling and testing of hemp for tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) concentration levels.
To conform with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (“USDA”) hemp production plan, the Texas Department of Agriculture (“TDA”) proposed its own hemp production rules and regulations (the “TDA plan”) to the Texas Register in December of 2019. The proposed rules were then revised and released on Friday, January 10th, and they are open to public comment until Monday, February 10th. Comments are to be submitted to Philip Wright, Administrator for Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Texas Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 12847, Austin, Texas 78711, or by email to [email protected]. If dissatisfied with any provision of the TDA plan, it is highly recommended to raise and send concerns to the TDA during this window for public comment.