Hemp

Custom Botanical Dispensary in downtown Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A judge in Travis County has issued a temporary restraining order against a state ban on "smokable" hemp products while a lawsuit against the ban proceeds.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

New rules prohibiting the retail sale and distribution of "smokable" hemp products are unconstitutional, companies argue in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Travis County.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agents and specialists tour two hemp farming operations in southeastern Colorado in 2019.
Kay Ledbetter / Texas A&M AgriLife

New rules banning the manufacture of hemp products meant to be smoked or vaporized went into effect Sunday.

The rules are part of the Texas Department of State Health Services' Consumable Hemp Program, which was created after the state passed legislation legalizing the production, manufacture, distribution and sale of hemp. Hemp contains no more than 0.3% concentration of THC, the chemical compound in cannabis that can get people high.

An Austin police officer walks by a line of police cars.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

The Austin Police Department announced Thursday it will stop ticketing and arresting people for low-level and nonviolent marijuana offenses – six months after the City Council asked the chief to adopt the policy and he refused.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Marijuana is in a hazy spot in Texas, legally speaking.

Marijuana and a lighter on a kitchen counter.
Julia Reihs / KUT

As law enforcement agencies in Texas figure out how to test suspected marijuana following the legalization of hemp in the state, the Austin City Council responded Thursday with its fix: a measure that effectively decriminalizes small amounts of pot.

For Hemp To Work, Farmers Want Rules That Fit Reality

Jan 23, 2020
Kay Ledbetter for Texas A&M AgriLife/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Although there’s no shortage of people in Texas planning to get into the hemp industry, many of them have serious concerns about how it will be regulated. There is no regulation right now because it’s been illegal to grow hemp in Texas for almost 100 years.

Marijuana and a pipe on a Texas flag
KUT

As Texas law enforcement grapples with how to determine if something is marijuana after lawmakers legalized hemp last year, one city’s officials are putting forward their own solution: effectively decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot altogether.

Hemp plants grown and researched in campus greenhouses.
Stephen Ward / Oregon State University

It’s been more than six months since Texas lawmakers legalized hemp and unintentionally disrupted marijuana prosecution across the state.

Ryan Poppe/Texas Public Radio

From Texas Standard:

The Texas Department of Agriculture this week released a proposed set of rules for growing hemp, which had been illegal until the federal government's 2018 Farm Bill cleared the way for production.

The new rules will help would-be growers understand how the crop will be regulated. And when the hemp is ready to be harvested, a Dallas company has a plan for processing it.

AgriLife Today/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Not every crop could compel farmers to pay $50 to spend a chilly weekday in a drab conference room in Wichita Falls. But hemp is not every crop.

 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Texans who want to legally grow industrial hemp are one step closer to making that a reality after the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its framework plan for hemp production on Tuesday.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

There’s been a lot of confusion about the difference between marijuana and hemp since Texas legalized the production and sale of hemp in June.

The short? Marijuana is still very much illegal at the state and national level. But the new law created a distinction that’s left some prosecutors in a bit of a pickle.

Texas State Trooper car
Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

Texas’ largest law enforcement agency is moving away from arresting people for low-level marijuana offenses. It’s the latest development in the chaos that has surrounded pot prosecution after state lawmakers legalized hemp this year.

A man cuts a marijuana plant.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

Months before Texas district attorneys started dropping or delaying low-level marijuana cases, state lawmakers were told that a well-liked bill to legalize hemp was going to complicate pot prosecutions.

The warnings fell flat.

Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore
Julia Reihs / KUT

Things have changed in the past year or so in how Travis County approaches some cases involving particular types and amounts of drugs. District Attorney Margaret Moore says the "criminal justice system is a very poor tool to use to address drug usage or substance abuse of any kind."

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore said Wednesday her office is dismissing 32 felony cases involving possession or delivery of marijuana or THC, pending further investigation, as the result of a new Texas law legalizing hemp.

KUT

A new law that legalized hemp in Texas is creating a haze of confusion for authorities as most crime labs around the state can't do the testing to tell the difference between the cannabis plant and its illegal cousin, marijuana.

This week, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office dismissed about 235 misdemeanor marijuana possession cases. It was an unusual move, and a response to changes in state law earlier this month.

Marijuana on top of a Texas flag
KUT

Sixty-three bills related to marijuana or hemp were filed at the beginning of the 86th Texas legislative session in January. Four measures passed out of the House, including bills that would establish a hemp market in Texas, reduce penalties for low-level marijuana possession and expand the list of Texans who can access medical marijuana.

Juan Figueroa / The Texas Tribune

The Texas House on Tuesday gave broad preliminary approval to a bill that would allow farmers in the state to legally grow industrial hemp — a move lauded as a win for the state’s farmers.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

When it comes to crops, Texas has one of the most diverse portfolios around. But here's one commodity you won't find: industrial hemp. The square cousin of marijuana has no psychoactive properties, but it does have a whole range of practical applications for things like textiles, food and fiber. The problem is that in most places, it's illegal to cultivate it. But a bill currently being considered by Congress could change that, and it has the support of Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller.

THC, the chemical that gets marijuana consumers high, is only present in minute amounts in hemp, Miller says.

Is Texas Ready to Get Kinky About Hemp?

Feb 12, 2014
Mike Lee, KUT

From StateImpact Texas:

He's run for office three times and lost. But here he is again, the novelist and troubadour that made a name for himself by turning country clichés into satiric social commentary, running for office. Richard "Kinky" Friedman (he got the nickname for his hair) is running as a Democrat for Agriculture Commissioner, and he has a plan to make Texas "greener." He wants to make hemp and marijuana legal in Texas.

“I’m not a dope smoker, okay?” he says with a point of his trademark unlit cigar. “Except with Willie [Nelson]. More as a Texas etiquette kind of thing.” First, his argument for hemp, which is in the same family as marijuana but in its industrial form doesn’t have the medicinal or recreational uses of marijuana. Friedman argues that if cotton farmers in Texas were allowed to grow hemp instead, the trade-offs would be attractive.