AUSTIN, Texas – Texas regulators have enacted a framework of rules and introduced a new program to license hemp manufacturing and distribution within the state. The caveat is that while the program covers consumable products, it does not provide for products of the smoking or vaping variety.
House Bill 1325 paved the way for industrial hemp crops and products in Texas and for the new Consumable Hemp Program, which is housed within the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
The agency is accepting new applications for hemp product licenses and retailer registration. Applicants who secure the license ($258 per year) may manufacture, process, and distribute hemp within the state. Applications can be filled out online.
Existing retailers that sell products containing hemp must register by October 2 to comply with the program. The cost of the license is $155 per year.
Stephen Pahl, DSHS associate commissioner for consumer protection, said, “the program establishes a consistent regulatory framework for consumable hemp products that are manufactured or sold in Texas.”
Pahl added that his agency worked with “stakeholders to develop rules that provide clarity for license and registration holders.”
Under the rules, “smokable” hemp products are effectively still banned in the Lone Star state, which is rankling marijuana activists.
Jax Finkel, executive director for the Texas branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said some retail locations will be impacted by the new rules, which went into effect August 2.
“For some of these businesses, those types of products make up about half of what they’re selling,” Finkel told Houston Public Media. “These are businesses that have been able to stay open during the pandemic because of delivery options and curbside options. [They’ve] been able to at least keep their employees partially, if not fully, employed.”
Texas state Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) said the intent of the 2018 Farm Bill, which essentially relaxed the classification of hemp by differentiating it from marijuana, remains about consumer protection.
“With the passage of the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill, Texas was seeing an exponential influx of products derived from, or including hemp, from lipsticks, to lotions, to CBD oils,” Perry said. “These products were coming from states and countries that may not require robust testing or labeling.”