Hemp is removed from Texas’ controlled substance list

Some legal experts believe that a question mark hovers over the legality of hemp products currently being sold in Texas


Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

The Texas Department of State Health Services has removed hemp from its list of controlled substances.

Removing hemp from a list of Schedule I drugs means that the plant is no longer in the same category as drugs that have no authorized medical use and a high potential for abuse, such as LSD and heroin.

The removal of hemp from Texas’ list of controlled substances brings the plant in line with federal law. However, it could confuse some people; cannabis and hemp are often mistaken for one another, despite the fact that hemp is non-psychoactive.

Opinions on Texas’ declassification of hemp are mixed

The state’s declassification of hemp brings the plant into compliance with the 2018 Farm Bill. Although the declassification of hemp in Texas does not permit in-state hemp farming or manufacturing, it’s a good start. However, some legal experts believe that a question mark hovers over the legality of hemp products currently being sold in Texas, despite the fact it has now been declassified.

“It’s really not going to have any direct impact other than to confuse people even more,” said the staff attorney at Texas District and County Attorneys Association, Shannon Edmonds.

Conversely, cannabis advocates say that the modification of hemp’s classification demonstrates the validity of hemp products being sold throughout Texas. To prevent confusion among consumers, retailers, attorneys and law enforcement, legislation must be passed by Texas lawmakers actually legalizing the plant.

U.S. Congress legalized hemp in 2018

In December of last year, hemp was legalized by U.S. Congress, but on one condition: the plant must contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. Additionally, Congress eased regulations for customers and businesses to carry hemp on their person when traveling across state lines. Farmers were also given the go-ahead to cultivate hemp as a crop.

If grown correctly, hemp doesn’t contain more than 0.3 percent of the psychotropic cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). It does, however, grow with an abundance of the therapeutic non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol). THC is widely favored by recreational adult consumers who want to get “high.”

Cannabis-based medicines containing up to 0.5 percent THC can be obtained by epileptic patients in Texas under the state’s Compassionate Use program. The program launched four years ago and it authorizes patients to procure two separate doctor’s descriptions for their treatment.

At the current time, three companies in Texas have licenses to cultivate cannabis for the production and sale of low-THC medicines. They are Cansortium Texas, Compassionate Cultivation and Surterra Texas.