Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed legislation creating a state-regulated hemp industry, which will allow farmers to grow hemp and hemp-derived products, such as cannabidiol (CBD).
The law makes it legal for Texas farmers to grow and cultivate hemp and for the Texas Department of Agriculture to regulate the process, including inspections, fee collections and licenses.
The law will allow hemp and hemp-derived products to be sold as long as they do not contain a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of more than 0.3 percent. THC is the psychoactive element in marijuana.
The law requires retail stores planning to sell CBD products to register with the state’s health department.
It goes into effect immediately.
Abbott did not publicly comment about the legislation, but it had bipartisan support when it passed the Texas legislature.
The new law is an attempt to clarify the gray area surrounding hemp and hemp-based CBD products. Hemp is a lucrative agricultural product for farmers, and 42 other states have legalized industrial hemp production.
Last year, Congress removed hemp from the list of controlled substances and legalized hemp production nationwide. That legalization has allowed a booming market of CBD, which is derived from hemp.
But the federal government has yet to come up with a regulatory framework for hemp and hemp-based products, leaving states to figure it out on their own.
Prior to Abbott signing the legislation, Texas treated marijuana and hemp the same, even though hemp does not contain the same amount of THC as marijuana. Some business owners even reported that police raided their shops and seized CBD products as if they were illegal narcotics.
Marijuana remains illegal in Texas.