On June 10, 2019, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 1325, a law that will immediately allow for hemp farming and the production of low-THC hemp and cannabidiol (“CBD”) products. Although some CBD products were already available throughout the state, their legal status was—at best—unclear. Now with the new law, CBD products containing less than 0.3% THC can be legally bought and sold.
Texas has been a relatively slow mover in the nationwide wave of legalization. Medical marijuana is strictly restricted to products containing no more than 0.5% THC and there has been little-to-no headway regarding recreational marijuana. To the extent medical marijuana is available, smoking it is not permitted. Recent attempts to decriminalize low-level possession have also failed. The new law, however, received overwhelming bipartisan support in the state legislature and may signal a (slowly) shifting mindset towards marijuana—regardless of political affiliation.
In addition to HB 1325, Governor Abbott has been presented with another bill that would expand the availability of medical marijuana: HB 3703. Currently, even low-THC medical marijuana is only available to Texans suffering from epilepsy. If signed into law, the list of qualifying conditions would be expanded to include Parkinson’s disease, terminal cancer, and multiple sclerosis, among others. Like HB 1325, this bill passed through the legislature with overwhelming support.
These measures, much like recent developments in Alabama, could signal an important headway into states that are traditionally considered “anti-marijuana.” Although some Texas legislators declared that these measures are not the beginning of the path to full legalization, these small openings nonetheless give Texans an opportunity to better familiarize themselves with cannabis and its by-products’ benefits. With offices in Austin, Dallas, and Houston, Locke Lord will be following any Texas cannabis developments closely.