A ban on the manufacture, distribution, and retail sale of smokable hemp products in Texas was recently overturned after a long battle over legality.
On August 23, 2021, Judge Lora Livingston of the 261st District Court sided in favor of the plaintiffs in the case of Crown Distributing LLC, et al. v. Texas Department of State Health Services, et al, who were opposed to the ban on distribution and sales of smokable hemp.
Judge Livingston ruled that:
- Texas Health and Safety Code Section 443.204(4) and Texas Agriculture Code Section 122.301(b) violate the Texas Constitution.
- 25 Texas Administrative Code Section 300.104 is invalid in its entirety.
- A permanent injunction is granted enjoining Defendants from enforcing Texas Health and Safety Code Section 443.204(4) and Texas Agriculture Code Section 122.301(b) and 25 Texas Administrative Code Section 300.104.
In 2019, Texas legalized hemp when the state legislature passed HB 1325. The law went into effect on June 10, 2019, making cannabis with less than 0.3 percent of THC legal hemp, while anything more is considered marijuana.
Once hemp was legalized, the laws surrounding cannabis got a bit confusing, and loopholes were being widely used to avoid prosecution. State leaders realized their mistake too late, and tried to ban the processing or manufacturing of consumable hemp with Section 443.204(4) of the Health and Safety code.
The move of course was utterly ridiculous.
Texans were still free to consume smokable hemp, but instead of getting it locally, they were forced to order their products from out of state. Thus, the people truly missing out were our very own Texan hemp farmers.
“We’re pleased with the result. This law never made any sense, was an unjustifiable infringement of liberty when enacted and would have seriously hurt the Texas hemp industry from farmers to consumers if allowed to move forward,” said Matt Zorn, one of the lead attorneys on the case. “After a full trial, the court saw things our way and declared the statute unconstitutional under the Texas Constitution.”
Now, Texas hemp farmers are free to produce smokable hemp without repercussion, and consumers can trust their locally sourced goods. While some may still be discouraged at the lack of legalization of recreational marijuana, I have to say we are making progress. The progress is that of a snail, but at least it's something.
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