About Hemp

History of Early Texas Cannabis Regulation

Cannabis regulation in early Texas underscores a series of significant developments marked by legal transitions and societal attitudes. In 1915, the city of El Paso notably became the first municipality in the United States to institute a ban on marijuana following an incident involving the killing of a police officer in Mexico, during which the cannabis plant was implicated. Propelled by a sheriff-led anti-marijuana campaign, the prohibitionist sentiment gained momentum, attributing crime, and societal ills in El Paso to cannabis use, albeit largely influenced by racial biases against Mexican and Mexican American populations.

In 1919, Texas extended restrictions on marijuana statewide, limiting its legal consumption to prescription-only status alongside narcotics. By 1923, Texas had enacted a comprehensive prohibition on narcotics, which included cannabis, prohibiting possession across the state. The most stringent measures emerged in 1931, when Texas imposed severe penalties, including life imprisonment, for cannabis possession, making it the sole state in the nation with such punitive measures. This policy stance led to a surge in marijuana-related arrests between 1970 and 1975, indicative of the profound impact of these laws on law enforcement and society.

Significant reforms occurred in 1973, when Texas revised its laws, reducing the severity of penalties for possessing small amounts of cannabis to a misdemeanor offense, thereby departing from the previous life imprisonment mandate for any cannabis possession. These legal amendments reflected evolving societal attitudes and paved the way for subsequent developments in cannabis regulation in Texas.

History of Modern Texas Hemp Legislation

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the commercial production of hemp and authorized states to submit their plans to administer hemp programs. On June 10, 2019, House Bill 1325 was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott. The bill authorized the production, manufacture, retail sale, and inspection of industrial hemp crops and products in Texas, including consumable hemp products which contain cannabidiol (CBD), as well as other edible parts of the hemp plant.

The USDA released its interim final rules for hemp on October 29, 2019, and the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) submitted the state hemp plan to the USDA on December 2, 2019.  It was approved by the USDA on January 27, 2020, with administrative rules being published the same month and taking effect March 11, 2020. TDA’s existing administrative rules relate to licensing, production, testing, seed certification and other program oversight, as needed. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), not TDA has oversight of CBD and hemp consumables.

Source: (Hemp Background (texasagriculture.gov)