The upcoming 2023 Texas farm bill could improve the state’s current rules and regulations regarding hemp production and distribution.
Farmers in Texas are currently dealing with contradictory rules, the Dallas Observer reported.
A recent Texas Department of State Health Services rule banned the processing and manufacturing of any hemp products intended for smoking. The 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act, meanwhile, decriminalized hemp with 0.3% THC or less.
Liz Grow, one of the founders of Grow House Media and the Taste of Texas Hemp Cup, told the Dallas Observer that confusing laws had decreased the number of hemp farmers in the state.
“Texas lawmakers can’t get it right, and they’re blocking our farmers at every turn for economic opportunities,” she said.
Grow shared that the ruling does not keep products from being sold. Instead, hemp sellers are simply unable to market their product as something to be smoked. The Dallas Observer reported that some farmers had moved production to other states.
“Our farmers are able to grow craft hemp, but they can’t sell it in Texas and have to send it out of state. They got the rug pulled out. This event is significant for that. People want cannabis and craft hemp in Texas,” Grow argued.
The Texas Supreme Court backed the ban imposed by the Texas Department of State Health Services in June.
Republican State Senator Charles Perry recently filed Senate Bill 264, the Dallas Observer reported on December 6. The bill would outlaw any products that have more than 0.3% THC.
SB 264 would also prevent the distribution or sale of hemp products with cannabinoids.
Zachary Maxwell, the president of Texas Hemp Growers, told the Dallas Observer that the bill could damage the state’s hemp industry.
“Senate Bill 264 would deliver a devastating and potentially fatal blow to Texas’ hemp industry. Texas Hemp Growers is communicating with state officials about our concerns, including the future of THC isomers, and addressing the state’s ban on smokable hemp products,” Maxwell said.
Ben Meggs, the CEO and founder of Bayou City Hemp Company, said he is also working with state officials and lawmakers.
If passed, Perry’s SB 264 bill will go into effect on September 1, 2023.