AUSTIN, Texas - In two weeks, hemp will no longer be considered a controlled substance in Texas, but there are still several questions the state legislature will need to clear up when it comes to the production of hemp.
“Every day it seems like more and more people are coming through this door saying, ‘I'm curious about CBD,’” said Haley Baros, store manager at SunUp CBD.
“The three main benefits that we hear our customers using CBD for are they're looking for relief with stress and anxiety, pain and inflammation or to help regulate sleep,” Baros added.
Although, opening a CBD shop has been a little bit risky in Texas. However, that's about to change
“They've been operating in kind of a legal grey area. This pushes us towards clearing it up,” said Jax Finkel, executive director of Texas National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the federal government removed hemp from the list of controlled substances and now Texas is complying with that law by doing the same. “The great news is you're not going to be arrested for it or prosecuted for it. Let’s say you're selling CBD oil and they come in and it's not properly approved or sanctioned, then you would go through a regulatory process just like any other business that would have an issue like that,” Finkel said.
However, there are still some things Texas lawmakers will need to clarify, like labeling and testing products, or whether ingestible CBD oil must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
“If someone thinks they're getting one thing, that should be what they're getting,” said Finkel.
When it comes to growing hemp, that's still to be determined.
“It can be confusing. Hemp's been declassified, yet it's still kind of restricted because the 2018 hemp bill says you have to grow under a state sanctioned program. We don't have that,” Finkel said.
Still, providers like SunUp CBD said removing hemp from the controlled substance list is a step in the right direction. “Not even so much for our business, I think for our clients and our customers, they're going to be able to have more access to this, easier access. I'm sure more CBD companies will pop up here. It's just going to become more accessible to the people that really need it,” said Baros.
The Texas Compassionate Use Act already allows people with intractable epilepsy to legally use medical cannabis oil if they meet certain qualifications. The law only allows oil high in CBD and low in the psychoactive ingredient THC. Compassionate Cultivation CEO Morris Denton, who owns one of three companies allowed to legally produce medical cannabis, said this about the state’s decision:
“It's clear with the rapid explosion and proliferation of CBD stores that Texans want access to this product. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to many Texans, they are purchasing products without knowing anything about quality and consistency as CBD is unregulated outside the Compassionate Use Program. It's time Texas creates and puts in place clear, understandable and enforceable laws that regulate this product in order to ensure the health and safety of Texans.”
There is currently a bill in state legislature proposing the legalization of hemp and CBD.