Is Hemp Flower Legal in Texas?
In August 2021, a Texas appeals court ruled that products made from hemp flowers in other states could be sold in Texas. In the same decision, the court upheld the existing ban on the processing and manufacturing in Texas of hemp flower products intended for smoking or vaping. The decision essentially meant that you could buy smokable hemp flower and hemp-derived CBD oils in Texas, but not if the products were made in Texas. Moreover, after a suit regarding smokable hemp, another Texas court ruled that the ban on smokable hemp was unconstitutional.
What Is Hemp Flower?
In 2019, the State of Texas enacted legislation allowing farmers to grow industrial hemp. Industrial hemp is related to marijuana but carries only very small amounts of the psychoactive ingredients in marijuana. CBD, one of those psychoactives, does not produce the “high” associated with THC, the other psychoactive ingredient in hemp, but it does affect pain, anxiety, depression, and seizures.
Under Texas law, marijuana use is illegal, but growing hemp flowers isn’t. The hemp plant has flowers, stalks, seeds, and leaves. The flower is unique in that it contains the highest level of CBD but low percentages of THC.
Can Texas Farmers Grow It?
As of this writing, Texas law formally permits consumable hemp products in Texas that do not exceed 0.3% THC.
To grow hemp legally in Texas, a farmer must obtain a license by completing an online application with the Texas Department of Agriculture. To get a license, the applicant must have at least one “facility” for the production or handling of hemp. A single use “lot permit” authorizes the licensee to plant one hemp crop of a single approved variety in one area of Texas. There are specific fees for the following:
- License – Authority granted annually by the Department of Agriculture to grow hemp.
- Facility – A uninterrupted location under the legal control of the applicant for a license
- Lot Permit – A lot for which a permit must be obtained is a contiguous area within a facility containing the same hemp variety throughout. Growing different hemp varieties or having an interrupted lot requires that it be licensed as at least two lots.
Each facility must be separately registered and a lot permit obtained for each hemp lot planted in any given facility.
How Do I Qualify?
Applicants must apply online and meet certain minimum requirements. Applicants must, for example, complete a Texas hemp orientation course and USDA training. Individuals convicted of a felony involving a controlled substance may not apply for the license. The online application must be complete when submitted. There is no limit to the number of licenses the state may issue.
Criminal histories are the applicant, and all key personnel of the applicant must be submitted to verify requirements with the controlled substances felony disqualification. Key personnel include a sole proprietor, a partner in a general partnership, a general partner in a limited partnership, or any person with executive, managerial control in the applicant.
Licenses must be obtained even for personal growth in the home. All license and registration fees must be paid even for home growing. There is a $100 for the license and an additional $100 for each lot permit. Other fees, which are also non-refundable, may apply.
There are two types of licenses. They are:
- Producer – Permits Can grow and handle applicant’s own hemp crops
- Handler – Required for handling hemp crops not grown by the applicant, the Handler license allows the applicant to harvest, store, possess, transport, and dispose of hemp plants. If a Handler wants to produce, the Handler must obtain a Producer license.
If you would like to know more about hemp legalization in Texas, or you are facing allegations of breaking the law, contact Fort Worth criminal defense attorney Kyle Whitaker today.