NEWS UPDATE: Temporary Injunction on the “Ban of Smokable hemp” appears to be in force until the trial that is set for February 2021. (Postponed until March 22, 2021)

Without legal authority to do so, on August 2 the Texas Department of State Health Services instituted regulations banning the retail sale of legal smokable hemp products. (More here.)

Four Texas companies are suing to overturn the state’s ban on the manufacture and sale of smokable hemp products.

In a lawsuit filed in Travis County District Court, the companies asked a judge to declare the ban unconstitutional and allow hemp products intended for smoking or vaping to be produced and sold legally across the state.

As of August 19, 2020, a Texas judge granted a specifically worded Temporary Restraining Order to the plaintiffs.  Now a trial has been set in February 2021.  So it appears, Texas retailers should be able to sell smokables, but it’s Texas. Let’s see what happens.  We’ll keep you posted of further notices.

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Texas Smokable Hemp Hearing Postponed to March

The ban on smokable hemp remains lifted until the next hearing, scheduled for March 22. The Texas smokable hemp ban has hit another roadblock. A hearing on the legality of the ban was initially scheduled for Feb. 1, but on Jan. 5, Judge Lora Livingston of the Travis County District Court postponed the hearing to March.

Susan Hays, an attorney working on the case, said in that the “trial was postponed to allow more time for pre-trial briefing and perhaps a motion for summary judgment,” noting that it is very common for a first trial setting to get pushed back.

The Texas (DSHS) Department of State Health Services launched its Consumable Hemp Program, in Aug 2020, which included regulations that prohibited the manufacturing, processing, distribution and retail sale of smokable hemp products in Texas.

The program went into effect on Aug. 2, 2020, but days after, several companies filed a lawsuit to overturn the state’s ban on smokable hemp products. In late August, Judge Livingston temporarily lifted the ban until a later hearing in September 2020.   After the hearing, the temporary restraining order turned into a temporary injunction.

“The appeal of the temporary injunction is fully briefed and pending at the Austin Court of Appeals,” Hays says.

The temporary injunction prevents the state from enforcing any DSHS bans on smokable hemp products until the case goes to trial in March 2021.

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It all started onn July 20, 2020 when the Texas DSHS (Texas Department of State Health Services) posted code 300.104 “banning the retail sale and distribution of smokable hemp products.” The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency’s legal authority.HB 1325. The 2019 state bill that legalized hemp farming in Texas, allowed for the sale of smokable hemp products.

August 2, 2020,  the ban went into effect NOT allowing the sale of smokable hemp flower.  At least 50% of CBD consumers buy hemp flower,  largely for smoking purposes.  You can purchase “non-smokable CBD hemp flower” from RESTART CBD, for use in teas, tinctures, edibles and topicals.  Now we are waiting to see what happens when this goes to trial in February 2021.

As a consumer you can purchase CBD in any form.  You can also purchase online, possess hemp flower and consume it, you just may not be able to purchase “smokables” in Texas in the future. 

Smokable hemp has many advantages for people who struggle with chronic pain and anxiety. The health benefits of CBD are well documented. Many children and adults use the non-psychoactive drug to control seizures or to manage chronic pain, among many other uses.mm When smoked, CBD is absorbed into your lungs and directly into your bloodstream.  When ingested CBD products take longer to be absorbed and lose some of their potency when filtered by the liver.

The state rules effectively strangle Texas’ new hemp market.   Lawmakers are stifling it before it has a chance to get off the ground. Hemp farmers and retailers are frustrated. A good part of our market has been cut off. It’s not really doing anything except stifling Texas from a large market.

“This rule would be the equivalent of permitting a rancher to raise cattle for sale while prohibiting them from selling steak or permitting a farmer to grow corn while prohibiting sale of corn on the cob,” Zachary Maxwell said, Texas Hemp Grower’s President. “The flower of the hemp plant is the most lucrative part of the plant for both Texas farmers and retailers and could provide much needed revenue to the state of Texas. The most predominant usage of hemp flower by consumers is for smoking, and DSHS’ proposed retail ban forces Texas farmers to send their business out of state by seeking out-of-state buyers for their crop, rather than being able to sell their flower crop in state.”

Texas Hemp Growers, a hemp advocacy group, is also preparing a lawsuit to challenge the proposed ban.  Maxwell, said that any ban on specific forms of hemp products violates state and federal law, specifically the federal 2018 farm bill that legalizes the regulated production of hemp.

An attack on any part of the hemp industry is an attack on everyone who is involved in the growing, processing, and selling of hemp products.

Please continue to support us while this is playing out in the courts.

Thank you for your support and buy local.  Even if that means we have to ship it from Colorado.

In May, TCC posted that the Texas Hemp Growers Association has already funded to start a lawsuit against the agency. THGA asserts that the smokable hemp retail ban is unconstitutional. We can expect to hear more about this early 2021.

Stay informed, get involved.