Texas House gives hemp legalization initial OK, boosting odds for commercial industry

A Texas proposal to open the nation’s second-largest state to the hemp farming boom could soon become a reality after House legislators gave the idea an important thumbs-up Tuesday.

The legislation positions Texas to join at least 42 other states with legal hemp production.

The measure passed without objection in a preliminary House vote, meaning it faces a formal House vote before heading to the Senate, where its prospects are less clear.

Things to know about the Texas hemp bill:

  • The measure would allow CBD to be added to foods, drugs and cosmetics, stating that cannabinoids from hemp are “not considered controlled substances or adulterants.”
  • Texas would ban drug felons from participating in the hemp industry for 10 years.
  • Texas retailers who have been bedeviled by product seizures would be protected, with the legislation noting that retailers selling CBD must be given “fair notice” of any CBD infractions before products may be seized.
  • Fees would be determined by the Texas Department of Agriculture.

The Texas House amended the hemp bill Tuesday to remove provisions allowing hemp to go in animal feed.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said last year that hemp could prove profitable for the state’s farmers.