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Texas Opens Hemp Program Applications, While Making It Tougher To Sell 'Smokable' Products

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.

"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," state Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, who sponsored the legislation in the Senate, said in a statement Monday. "These products were coming from states and countries that may not require robust testing or labeling."

Perry said the bill added some of the strongest consumer protections in the nation to make sure the products are safe for customers.

But the executive director of Texas NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said many businesses feel the ban goes beyond the scope of the legislation by prohibiting the distribution and sale of “smokable” products.

“For some of these businesses, those types of products make up about half of what they’re selling,” Jax Finkel said. “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.”

Along with issuing the new rules, DSHS opened applications for hemp product licenses, as well as retailer registrations. To immediately manufacture, process or distribute hemp, facilities must pay $258 for a one-year license.

Retailers that sell these products have until Oct. 2 to register their locations with the state hemp program, at a cost of $155 per facility for a one-year license.

Got a tip? Email Jerry Quijano at Follow him on Twitter @jerryquijano.

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Jerry Quijano is the local All Things Considered anchor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @jerryquijano.
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