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What does the future hold for smokable hemp flower in Texas?

Take Action: Keep Smokable Hemp Flower Legal In Texas

People smoke marijuana to feel high, but they smoke hemp to ingest cannabinoids users say ease aches, pains and stress (without the high!).

People buying smokable products aren’t usually the same people associated with weed, however, in states like Texas, where marijuana is illegal, a lot of people are purchasing hemp flower as a substitute and finding they get all the medicinal benefits of cannabis with out the high.  “The smokable hemp flower we sell at RESTART CBD in Austin Texas, is being used by anyone who wants to have anxiety or stress release but not get high, says Shayda Torabi, Co-founder of RESTART CBD.”

Some consumers prefer to smoke hemp flower rather than ingest hemp oil because smoking is one of the fastest ways to absorb cannabinoids straight into the bloodstream.  Others smoke because they don’t have to worry about toxic additives or mislabeling.  Smoking hemp flower is one of the most natural ways to get your CBD.

What is Smokable Hemp Flower?

It’s exactly what it sounds like, hemp flower buds that can be smoked just like marijuana. However, since these flowers come from hemp and not marijuana, they’re generally very low in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and high in other cannabinoids like CBD (cannabidiol) and CBG (cannabigerol).

Smokable hemp flower is often preferred over THC-dominant buds for several reasons.

  • They are federally legal, with exception of some states that are fighting it.
  • Users can benefit from the therapeutic benefits of various cannabinoids and terpenes without the psychoactive effects of THC.

The 2018 Farm Bill made industrial hemp federally legal but the smokable hemp flower market is facing incredible challenges.

Although it’s only an issue in certain states, the challenges seem to be related to the appearance of hemp flowers.  They look and smell just like marijuana buds and law enforcement is having a difficult time telling the difference between the two.  So they are calling on law makers to just “ban it all.”

Some state lawmakers, alarmed by how difficult it is for law enforcement officers to tell the difference between hemp bud or joints and illegal pot products, are cracking down on smokable hemp.

  • Louisiana and Indiana banned smokable hemp sales in 2019
  • Texas banned smokable hemp manufacturing
  • Kentucky banned sales of hemp cigarettes, cigars, whole hemp buds and ground flowers in 2018
  • And a bill whether to allow sales of dried hemp flower, hemp cigarettes, pre-rolled hemp joints, and other smokable products has stalled a North Carolina.

Farmers and hemp businesses are fighting the bans, arguing that they violate federal law and hurt a nascent industry. The 2018 farm bill legalized hemp sales and defined hemp as any part of Cannabis sativa L. with a tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, concentration of 0.3% or lower.

The THC debate: 0.3% or 1%

Legally, hemp can’t have more than 0.3% THC, but with USDA’s (U.S. Department of Agriculture) newly revised testing procedures, most plants fall into the non-compliant category with around 0.5 to 0.7 percent THC.

Now the big debate in the hemp industry is where the cutoff should be for the THC content in hemp flower plants.

If a hemp field tests over 0.3% THC, the fields will be destroyed. More than 40% of hemp fields recently tested in Arizona tested over 0.3% resulting in the destruction of 670 acres of hemp and about $13.4 million in losses. This is happening all over the country.

One of the largest farm organizations in the country, American Farm Bureau Federation(AFBF)  is trying to appeal to the USDA to increase this limit to 1 percent. This move would benefit the industry as well as consumers. Research shows that plants with slightly higher levels of THC also have noticeably higher levels of CBD. This would also increase the amount of time farmers have to harvest their fields and allow them to produce buds much higher quality buds.

“Growers in many parts of the USA have struggled to keep their crops
under the 0.3 THC limit.”said Scott VanderWal, vice president of the AFBF.

In Europe, it’s pretty common to see 0.3%, and even as low as 0.2%. However, a few progressive countries like Switzerland, Australia, Thailand, and Uruguay are moving towards the 1% mark. This would give them a production advantage so more countries will likely follow their lead.

States Are Taking Action

Farmers are fighting back.  Even though it’s being smoked, it’s still an agricultural commodity.

Hemp is used to make a variety of commercial and industrial products, including rope, textiles, clothing, shoes, food, paper, bioplastics, insulation, and biofuel. But today, most U.S. hemp farmers are growing hemp to produce cannabinoids, such as CBD — which means they’re growing plants that look like marijuana, smell like marijuana and, increasingly, are rolled into joints and smoked like marijuana.

Hemp is a perfect alternative specialty crop for farmers.  It isn’t known to be carcinogenic or addictive and might just be the next tobacco.  It would be much better than the vape and cigarette poisons that tobacco companies are pushing on the youth.

Indiana has been working to ban smokable hemp flower in their state.  But in July 2019,  an attempt to ban smokable hemp flower was blocked by a federal judge –deemed unconstitutional. However, the state is attempting to appeal that decision, saying that states are free to restrict certain legal products if they choose.

The Midwest Hemp Council and seven hemp wholesalers throughout the state are challenging the state’s attempt to ban smokable hemp flower. They argue that it violates “federal guarantees for the legal transportation of hemp through all states.”

The Indiana case is being watched very closely by the hemp farmers
and wholesalers nationwide. If Indiana succeeds in banning smokable hemp
flower, many states will do the same until all forms of cannabis becomes legal
at the federal level.

In conservative regions of the United States, such as Texas in the South and Midwest, the legal system continues to inhibit farmers.

Regulations are changing every day and it will take a while before we some real stabilization.

Is Hemp Flower legal in Texas?

Yes, the possession of smokable hemp is legal in Texas, for now.

Texas law outlaws the production of smokable hemp flower in the state but does not prohibit the consumption or possession of smokable hemp flower. This means that you can still purchase your hemp flower and smokable hemp products online and use it in Texas.

In June 2019, Governor Abbott signed HB 1325, which authorized the production, manufacture, retail sale, and inspection of hemp crops and products in Texas. The same bill prohibited “the processing or manufacturing of a consumable hemp product for smoking.”

Under Texas law, “hemp” means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds of the plant and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids*, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 THC concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.

*NOTE: The word acids, is another item being injected into the debate.  Most smokable hemp flower falls way below the 0.3% delta-9 THC concentration and THCa is not included in that calculation.  However, Texas is considering adding THCa to the total THC since THCa when heated turns into THC.

THCA is the raw, non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis and converts to THC when it’s dried and heated (which is why you need to decarboxylate or heat your weed to make edibles). … When heated, THCA isolate converts to THC and creates a (very) powerful high with a potency of 95%-100%.

So stay tuned.  It’s not over yet.

Texas is expected to become the leader in national hemp production, however, until the state hemp plan gets approved by the USDA, growing, and manufacturing of hemp is at a standstill in the Lone Star State.  AND part of the new draft is to make smokable flower illegal in Texas. This is the next battle Texans need to fight.

The best thing you can do is continue advocating for cannabis reform and supporting representatives who stand by full legalization.

Ultimately if all cannabis is legal, marijuana and hemp is legal, it would be much harder for conservative law makers to pick and choose what they will allow within their states.