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

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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HB 1325: Texas Hemp Regulations Increase

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.

Ritter Spencer, PLLCHB 1325: Texas Hemp Regulations Increase
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HB 1325: Texas Hemp Products, Part II

HB 1325 (or, “Bill”) is still pending in the Texas Legislature. The Bill will allow hemp growth in Texas for licensed hemp growers and will legalize hemp products, including CBD. HB 1325 will have an impact on manufacturers of hemp-derivative products in Texas and on hemp products in Texas. Today, we review what this impact will be and take a closer look at some of the pertinent provisions of the Bill.

Ritter Spencer, PLLCHB 1325: Texas Hemp Products, Part II
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