Texas Hemp Law
On June 1, 2015, the governor of Texas, Greg Abbot, signed SB 339 or the Texas Compassionate Use Act. The law allows people with intractable epilepsy to purchase medical cannabis under the guidance of a doctor2. It allows patients to buy cannabis that contains 10% or more of CBD and no more than 0.5% of THC3. The law authorizes businesses called “dispensing organizations” to grow, process, and sell cannabis with low THC levels.
While other states have similar regulations that limit the distribution of CBD-based products, this Texas hemp law requires doctors to join a registry and provide the registry with information like dosage, how the CBD-based product is administered, and the total quantity of low-THC cannabis needed for the prescription. The law also requires a licensed marijuana dealer to fill the prescriptions.
The Texas Department of Public Safety or DPS will manage and create rules for the program. The DPS has until September 1, 2017, to license a minimum of three dispensing organizations. The type of doctors authorized to prescribe CBD products will be limited to epileptologists and neurologists4.
Texas is among 13 states that have made marijuana illegal for recreational and medicinal purposes4. Recently, 14 states have made CBD legal for particular medical reasons while 23 states have legalized marijuana for broad medical use4. After Governor Abbot signed SB 339, he stressed that he continues to feel strongly against legalizing marijuana for any purpose and that SB 339 will not open the door to legalizing marijuana in Texas.
Opponents of SB 339 say that this Texas hemp law does not do enough as it only provides options for patients with epilepsy and fails to address patients with other diseases. Proponents, however, feel that the Texas legislature sent a message with the signing of SB 339 into law: marijuana should be considered a type of medicine.
CBD Products Confiscated by DPS
On September 7, 2016, the DPS entered four People’s Pharmacy locations in Austin, Texas, and confiscated various CBD-based products5. The DPS officers told Bill Swail, the pharmacy’s owner, that all CBD-based products needed to be removed from the shelves or else he would be arrested. The DPS officers seized the goods and told Mr. Swail that they would test them for their contents.
Mr. Swail told a television reporter that he complies with Texas hemp laws and that the products on his store shelves have low THC levels. The DPS later stated that the CBD-based products were removed from the pharmacies so that they could be tested for their THC content and that no one was arrested and no additional action will be made.
The actions of the DPS officers appear to indicate confusion in the agency regarding what is considered legal and subject to regulation. Sheila Hemphill, policy director for the Texas Hemp Industries Association, believes that the media may have created confusion among law enforcement personnel by having them believe that all CBD-based products are subject to regulation. Also contributing to the confusion is that the DPS has yet to establish operational rules for the limited Texas hemp law5.
Until the DPS creates specific rules, actions taken against businesses like People’s Pharmacy can be expected. As a consumer, you should be aware of the benefits of CBD-based products and that they are safe and completely legal. You should also do more research on CBD and know that CBD-based products can be bought on the Internet or in retail locations across Texas.
Do you live in a state where CBD is legal? Have you had any issues in purchasing CBD-based products? Let me know in the comments.