Texas removing hemp from controlled substances list

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FILE – In this Aug. 13, 2015, file photo, hemp plants tower above researchers who tend to them at a research farm in Lexington, Ky. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday, March 26, 2018, he wants to bring hemp production back into the mainstream by removing it from the controlled substances list that now […]

Come April 5, hemp will no longer be classified as a controlled substance by the State of Texas.

The Texas Department of State Health Services published an amendment to the list on March 15 removing hemp from the list, with the change taking effect 21 days from publication, or April 5.

Hemp was legalized nationally by the 2018 Farm Bill signed by President Trump on December 20.

Even with national legalization, though, the state must still take some action to clarify the crop’s status and future.

The Farm Bill authorizes states to engage in the state-authorized cultivation of hemp for research purposes, meaning hemp must be grown under a state-sanctioned program. Despite the action de-listing hemp, Texas still has no such state program.

The legal status of CBD oil also remains murky.

Use of the oil, which is derived from hemp and does not contain THC – the substance in marijuana that gets users high – is rapidly gaining in popularity. A number of shops in East Texas sell the oil.

However, Tyler police recently sent letters to those businesses, asking them to take CBD oil off their shelves.

In the wake of those letters, CBD oil sellers in Longview held an informational meeting seeking to clear up some of the confusion.

According to federal law, anything that comes from a marijuana plant is illegal. But anything derived from the hemp plant, a cousin to marijuana, is fine.

But according to state law, any CBD oil which contains THC is illegal.

According to the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, a bill has been presented in the Texas Legislature which would address these areas.

Texas legalized medical marijuana under narrow circumstances in 2015 when Governor Gregg Abbott signed into law a bill authored by then-Tyler Senator Kevin Eltife.

Depiste that legalization, though, some families said the medical-use product remained difficult to acquire due to the low number of dispensaries operating in the state. As of a year ago,only about 30 doctors across the state were licensed to prescribe it.

Currently, a broad coalition of Texas lawmakers and lobbyists are working to get the Legislature to expand medical-use marrijuana, but Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick remains staunchly opposed to any efforts to legalize the drug.

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