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Bills To Create Hemp Program, Expand Medical Marijuana Access In Texas Await Signature

Sixty-three bills related to marijuana or hemp were filed at the beginning of the 86th Texas legislative session in January. Four measures passed out of the House, including bills that would establish a hemp market in Texas, reduce penalties for low-level marijuana possession and expand the list of Texans who can access medical marijuana. At the end of the session, two marijuana-related bills are set to become law in Texas – unless the governor decides to veto them.

Rep. Tracy King of Uvalde set out to create a state program with a bill that would regulate the testing and production of hemp in Texas. Hemp is already legal in Texas after the federal government removed it from its list of banned substances, but it’s still illegal to grow it here. HB 1325 would also set up regulation for hemp-derived products like CBD. You can buy these types of products in Texas, even though they are technically illegal because they contain the psychoactive component of marijuana, THC.

The bill was the most successful cannabis-related measure this session, passing unanimously out of both the House and Senate. During a Senate committee hearing on the measure, Texas Department of Agriculture Assistant Commissioner Dan Hunter said the department hopes to have a permitting process in place by the end of the year.

HB 3703 expands access to medical marijuana to Texans suffering certain health conditions, including all types of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, autism and terminal cancer. Fort Worth Rep. Stephanie Klick said HB 3703 follows in the vein of her previous work focused on “a truly medical program that follows the scientific data.” Texans with intractable epilepsy have been eligible to use medical marijuana in the state because of the 2015 Texas Compassionate Use Act, which the Republican also spearheaded.

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