Texas hemp groups challenge state’s proposed smokable hemp ban

Texas hemp farmers and businesses are fighting back against the state’s proposed ban on growing and selling smokable hemp.

The Texas Hemp Industries Association is asking the Texas Department of State Health Services to change a proposed rule that would prohibit smokable hemp sales, saying it goes beyond state and federal statutes, is an unfunded mandate and is unenforceable.

While the state does allow for smokable hemp consumption, the DSHS proposed rules prohibit the retail sale and source of production, which Al Crisp, owner of Punkin Center Gin in Lamesa, Texas, who serves as the TXHIA vice president, calls discriminatory against Texas hemp producers and retailers.

“With depressed agricultural markets, it is vital for Texas agencies to provide rules that promote every economic opportunity for our farmers and retailers to compete with out-of-state online vendors providing these beneficial hemp products to consumers,” Crisp said in a TXHIA press release.

TXHIA President Coleman Hemphill said although many of the DSHS proposed rules are positive for getting the new Texas hemp industry started, moving forward with prohibition of smokable hemp sales presents “constitutional and statutory violations.”

The deadline for public comments to DSHS was Monday, and it is expected that final rules will take effect in July, with the earliest possible date of adoption being early June, according to Texas NORML.