On April 29, 2021, the Texas House of Representatives approved Texas House Bill 1535 (“HB 1535”), a bill that would expand Texas’ medical cannabis program. The Senate must now pass this bill before it can be signed into law and further advance Texas’ marijuana reform legislation. On April 30, 202, Texas House Bill 441 (“HB 441”) was also passed by the Texas House of Representatives; however, this bill faces an uphill climb in the Senate. If HB 441 is passed by the Senate and signed into law, this bill would reduce the criminal penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana. These two bills indicate significant progress in Texas cannabis legislation but still face an uncertain fate in the Senate. Below, we break down what these reform bills mean for the marijuana community in Texas.
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.
After establishing the Texas Compassionate Use Program in 2015 and augmenting it in 2019, Rep. Stephanie Klick (R) has once again initiated expanding the program with an incremental approach. With several beneficial provisions, this bill will potentially be the most effective and favorable legislation regarding medical marijuana reform in Texas. Although there are more comprehensive medical marijuana bills in other states, H.B. 1535 presents a significant opportunity for the Texas cannabis community.
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.
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.
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
HB 1325 (or, the “Bill”) began as a great draft of hemp legislation covering Texas hemp regulations. It aimed to establish a hemp growth program here in Texas and to amend some of our state criminal statutes that have led to arrests of individuals for possession of cannabidiol (CBD). Yes, the original draft Bill needed polishing and refinement to further expound on how the program would be implemented, what the regulations would be, and how it would work on a day-to-day basis. However, as the Bill has progressed through both the House and Senate committees, we have seen revisions included that provide unnecessary and onerous regulations for the Texas hemp industry. This over regulation will not benefit Texas and it certainly will not benefit hemp cultivators, processors, manufacturers, retailers, or consumers. Today, we cover some of the largest problems we have noted with the new text.