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 Proposed Rules Part II

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. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCDSHS Proposed Rules Part II
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DSHS Proposed Rules

On June 10, 2019, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 1325, legislation pertaining to hemp growth and consumable hemp products, into law in the state of Texas. To conform with Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 443, as amended by HB 1325, Texas Department of State Health Services (“DSHS”) has published its proposed rules to govern the Texas consumable hemp program (the “DSHS Proposed Rules”) in the Texas Register. Under the DSHS Proposed Rules, a “consumable hemp product” is defined as 

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4 Things to Know About Growing Hemp

Under the Final Interim USDA Hemp Production plan, several rules, requirements, and regulations pave the way for those looking to start a legal hemp farm after approval of their relevant State’s hemp-growth plan. Below, we’ve compiled four fundamentals to growing hemp, including hemp licensing, growing conditions, testing, and record-keeping, to help ensure compliance and facilitate a legal operation.  

Ritter Spencer, PLLC4 Things to Know About Growing Hemp
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USDA Hemp Production Plan Part III: Compliance, Violations, and Recordkeeping

By: Paul Stevenson

After learning the licensing requirements in Part I of this Series and the complex rules and regulations on the sampling and testing of hemp in Part II, it is now time to turn our attention to the USDA plan’s matters of compliance, violations, license suspension and revocation, and mandatory recordkeeping.

As a hemp producer, if you violate the USDA plan, it is important not to panic. Instead, focus on remedying this situation by complying with the corrective action plan or other enforcement actions imposed by USDA. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCUSDA Hemp Production Plan Part III: Compliance, Violations, and Recordkeeping
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USDA Hemp Production Plan Part II: Sampling & Testing of Hemp

By: Paul Stevenson

Now that you have read Part I of the USDA Hemp Production Plan series on the license requirements for hemp producers, it is critical to understand USDA’s methods and regulations for the sampling and testing of hemp for tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) concentration levels. Keep in mind: “tetrahydrocannabinol” and “delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol” are interchangeable phrases for THC.

Ritter Spencer, PLLCUSDA Hemp Production Plan Part II: Sampling & Testing of Hemp
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USDA Hemp Production Plan

By: Paul Stevenson

Last December, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, commonly known as the 2018 Farm Bill, was passed, which removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act’s (“CSA”) definition of “marihuana.” The Farm Bill allows for the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) to oversee and facilitate the commercial cultivation, processing, and marketing of hemp. As mandated by the Farm Bill, USDA has developed an interim final rule to establish the domestic hemp production program.

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Hemp Lawyer Chelsie Spencer Interviewed by Texas Cannabis Collective

Texas hemp lawyer Chelsie Spencer was recently interviewed by the Texas Cannabis Collective for its article “What You Need to Know about Hemp Legalization in Texas.” Texas Cannabis Collective is a Texas-based informational and educational media organization focusing on cannabis news in Texas and across the United States. In April of this year, Chelsie was interviewed on Texas’ hemp growth bill, HB 1325, prior to its passage by Texas Cannabis Collective. In the recent interview, Chelsie discusses the impact that HB 1325 will have here in Texas and practical problems she anticipates that may arise as the hemp-growth program begins implementation.

Ritter Spencer, PLLCHemp Lawyer Chelsie Spencer Interviewed by Texas Cannabis Collective
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Texas Hemp Grower’s License

Last night, Governor Abbot signed Texas HB 1325 (or, “Bill”) into law. HB 1325 establishes a hemp growth program here in Texas and governs manufacture and retail sale of hemp and hemp-derivative products. Because the Bill received the required vote threshold, it became effective immediately, making June 10, 2019, a historic date for Texas hemp and a celebratory evening for our hemp lawyers. Below, we provide a brief overview of the Bill’s requirements for a Texas hemp grower’s license.

Ritter Spencer, PLLCTexas Hemp Grower’s License
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