Texas Senate passes bill legalizing hemp unanimously

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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 […]

The Texas Senate unanimously passed a bill allowing farmers to grow and process hemp.

HB 1325, by State Rep. Tracy King (D-Batesville), passed the Texas House 144-0 and the Texas Senate 31-0. The bill will go back to the House for one final vote before heading to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

In addition to loosening restrictions for hemp farming, House Bill 1325 legalizes hemp-derived products like CBD oil. The debate over whether hemp and marijuana are the same thing have kept such bills from passing previously.

The federal 2018 U.S. Farm Bill gave a clear pathway for states to authorize farmers to grow hemp. Each state must present their own plan to the federal government for approval.

“I want to thank the bill’s author, Rep. Tracy King, and all of the stakeholders for their hard work on passing this bill. I believe legislators saw how important this bill was to Texas farmers and our economy and that is why it passed unanimously,” said Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), who sponsored the legislation.

Perry also is chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs.

“The hemp industry is rapidly growing and we need to ensure our farmers are able to participate. We hope this agricultural commodity will help boost rural communities now that there is a new viable crop option for our farmers,” said Perry.

“Many hemp products are already sold in grocery stores, however, Texas farmers are unable to profit off of this crop,” Perry said. “This will put our farmers on a level playing field with the rest of the country.”

Hemp, as defined by the Farm Bill, may not exceed a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of 0.3 percent.

Due to its low THC content, hemp does not possess the ability to create psychoactive or intoxicating effects like recreational marijuana which traditionally exceeds a concentration of 10% THC.

Marijuana remains illegal in Texas.

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