In 2015, the Texas Compassionate Use Act, Senate Bill 339, was enacted, requiring the Texas Department of Public Safety (“DPS”) to create a secure registry for qualified physicians to treat patients suffering from a limited list of medical conditions, such as ALS and intractable epilepsy, with low-THC cannabis. In 2019, the Texas Legislature expanded the Texas Compassionate Use Program (“TCUP”) via House Bill 3703 to include additional medical conditions, e.g., incurable neurodegenerative diseases, and physician specialties in which low-THC cannabis can be prescribed. Moreover, the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (“CURT”) has been updated in accordance with the expanded TCUP to allow for a simpler process for physicians to register and prescribe low-THC cannabis to their patients.
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.
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.
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.
Earlier last month, Oklahoma’s Legislature passed a bill requiring the Department of Public Safety to spend $300,000 on a pilot program aimed at testing a cannabis breathalyzer to determine whether patients of Oklahoma’s medical cannabis program may be driving impaired.
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
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.
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.
Now that you have read Part I of the USDAHemp 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.
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.