A new bill has opened the door for farmers to grow hemp, but that doesn’t mean Texas is any closer to legalizing marijuana.
On Tuesday, the Texas House gave preliminary approval to HB1325, which allows farmers to grow hemp after completing a background check and agreeing to regular inspections of their crops by the Department of Agriculture.
However, cannabis advocates should be careful not to confuse this bill with marijuana legalization.
Frank Snyder, a professor of law at Texas A&M and editor of the Cannabis Law Professor blog, says hemp comes from the same plant as marijuana, but it’s a different strain.
“Hemp is the part of the plant that has no THC,” Snyder says. “And it can’t get you high.”
Hemp is used in a variety of products from clothing to protein powders, but a rise in the use of CBD oils and related products may turn the plant into a real cash crop.
“To the extent that CBD grows as a market, hemp is going to get substantially bigger,” Snyder says.
If the bill passes, the new law would be in accordance with the recently-passed federal Farm Bill, which approved hemp farming. And Texas would follow in the footsteps of several other states that have legalized large-scale hemp production.
Snyder says while the process of registering and getting inspected is still fairly complex, he thinks farmers will be quick to adopt the new practice.
“It’s a significant first step in legalizing the crop,” Snyder says. “It actually tells the department of agriculture to encourage hemp production.”
Written by Sol Chase.