Enthusiastic efforts to make hemp farming legal in Texas failed for many years but no more. Texas House Bill 1325 allowing farmers to grow hemp was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in June 2019. The law has been effective since that time, though, under some rules of the legislation, actually planting hemp is still illegal until sometime in 2020. Authorities with the State of Texas must first settle some related regulations, such as rules for THC testing. Nationwide rules for state hemp programs are also awaited from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But, ultimately, farmers and retailers selling hemp products, including hemp-derived CBD, have a lot to look forward to.
The following are some highlights of the new hemp law in Texas:
- The fees for testing THC are capped at $300.
- Farmers will pay $100 per location for licensing, and application fees for farmers have a 100-dollar cap. Licenses are expected to be available by spring 2020.
- Any hemp products must be labeled to indicate they are hemp and not marijuana if they contain more than trace amounts of cannabinoids.
- It is illegal to manufacture smokable hemp, but the sale or possession of the product is allowed in Texas.
As far as the positive outcomes of this new law, first, hemp is an excellent market opportunity for Texas farmers to thrive. For perspective, according to a hemp research program out of Kentucky, hemp pays somewhere between $3,000 and $5,000 per acre, plus a bonus, while, in a good year, corn pays an average of $375 per acre.
Secondly, retailers will benefit from hemp crops in Texas. According to Forbes, retail opportunities for hemp products abound. As one example, CBD products are currently available in many major stores and are projected to soon be widely available in major chains everywhere, from Dillard’s to Kroger to CVS pharmacies.
By next year sometime, the positive effects of the new hemp law in Texas will be appreciated by many though probably by no one more than farmers and hemp product retailers.