Texas bans smokable hemp products as of Sunday, August 2, despite hemp production being legal in the state. To be clear, it has been illegal to manufacture smokable hemp products for a few months now. However, these rules did not include the sale of smokable hemp until the most recent hemp legislation update.
Despite more than 1700 comments opposing the ban, state legislatures maintain their stance on the matter, citing enforcement concerns. For example, marijuana (a psychoactive form of cannabis), is highly illegal in Texas, and smokable hemp is nearly indistinguishable from it. Without lab reports proving compliant THC levels, law enforcement cannot determine if cannabis buds are “marijuana” or “smokable hemp.”
Problems for Texas Hemp Farmers
Theoretically, banning smokable hemp in Texas will protect customers from purchasing mislabeled products. If consumers can only buy processed hemp products with accurate labels and matching COAs, then they will never inadvertently buy more THC than they expect, and will never have to worry about contamination or inaccurate labels.
However, when Texas bans smokable hemp, they throw a stick in the spokes of hemp production in the state. As an incredibly young industry, there is insufficient infrastructure established to process the more than 42000 acres of hemp farmland in Texas. Consequently, hemp farmers who neither sell smokable hemp nor find hemp processors in the area risk a considerable profit loss.
If the Black Market has taught us anything, it’s that those who want a product will do what they must to acquire it. If farmers cannot sell smokable hemp to the public legally, then they may do so illegally. Unfortunately, an unregulated market also means an ill-informed public. Consumers may purchase hemp thinking its marijuana (or vice versa), may buy contaminated products, or may t have insufficient resources on its applications.
The Future of Smokable Hemp in Texas
Because Texas bans smokable hemp, both farmers and consumers risk health and financial loss. The ban limits business from engaging discussions, thereby leaving smokable hemp sales to an unregulated market.
This is not to say that hemp products are illegal in Texas; hemp edibles, lotions, and tinctures are still legal there. However, the excessive (and expensive) processing hemp must endure before it hits Texas shelves is harmful to the industry. Unfortunately, until there is an accurate way for law enforcement officials to test hemp products quickly, smokable hemp will likely remain banned in Texas.
Final Thoughts About Texas Bans Smokable Hemp
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized domestic hemp production but left it to states and tribal territories to determine protocol. However, Texas lawmakers are firmly against psychoactive cannabis, which means that smokable hemp is a casualty of the cause.
Many officials insist that the only way to promote smokable hemp sales in Texas safely is with more accurate testing and labeling. Though this may suffice, for now, a better solution is to remove THC from the Controlled Substance list all-together. Doing so would remove the need to monitor petty THC levels and give consumers more control over their health and their personal freedoms, as well.