Texas Legalizes a New Kind of Farming

According to the Dallas Morning News, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a bill into law that legalizes the cultivation of hemp and the sale of CBD products in Texas. The new law has the potential of jump-starting a new industry in the Lone Star state.

“It will allow Texas to set up a federally approved program for farmers to grow hemp as an industrial crop, including procedures for sampling, inspection, and testing. It also expands the kind of hemp products that can be legally purchased in Texas to include any hemp or hemp-derived products containing less than 0.3 percent of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants.

“This includes cannabidiol, or CBD, products. While Texans have found oils, tinctures and other CBD goods on store shelves for years, those that contained even trace amounts of THC were technically illegal here. Now, as long as these products are derived from hemp, contain less than 0.3 percent THC and meet other labeling and quality standards, they are legal.”

Of course, marijuana, whether for most medicinal purposes or recreation, still remains illegal in the State of Texas. Hemp is a related plant to the one that contains pot.

Until last year’s federal farm bill, hemp cultivation had been illegal in the United States. Now, states are scrambling to align their laws to federal statutes and get in on the emerging hemp industry.

Hemp is one of the earliest plants to be cultivated by human beings. It was considered a cash crop by both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and was widely grown during America’s colonial period and the early republic.

However, the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 did not recognize the distinction between hemp and the related plant that produces marijuana and thus made it next to impossible to grow the plant. Some historians believe that the reason hemp was included is that business interests had concluded that it would compete with the then-new synthetic fiber products such as nylon.

The hemp industry was revived to a certain extent during World War II to provide essential military products but then was quietly shut down after the war ended. Hemp growing was effectively prohibited by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

The federal farm bill removed hemp from the list of controlled substances that were listed under the 1970 law. Texas, following the lead of a number of other states, has followed suit. Texas farmers now have a new crop with which to diversify their products.

Hemp can be used to create a number of products, according to the Hemp Industries Association.

Hemp seeds, it is suggested, can be made into nutritious food. “Hemp Seeds are one of nature’s most perfect foods and contain high levels of vitamins A, C and E, and beta-carotene and are rich in protein, carbohydrates, minerals, and fiber.”

Hemp is also used to make textiles and not just rope that sailors and hangmen have prized over the centuries.

“As a fabric, hemp provides all the warmth and softness of a natural textile but with a superior durability seldom found in other materials. Hemp is extremely versatile and can be used for countless products such as apparel, accessories, shoes, furniture, and home furnishings. Apparel made from hemp incorporates all the beneficial qualities and will likely last longer and withstand harsh conditions. Hemp blended with other fibers easily incorporates the desirable qualities of both textiles. The soft elasticity of cotton or the smooth texture of silk combined with the natural strength of hemp creates a whole new genre of fashion design.”

Hemp can also be used for building material, replacing oil-based products currently used. “The parts of the hemp plant currently used for construction are woody inner core (for hempcrete), the outer fibrous skin (for hemp fiber batt insulation) and hemp seed oil (for hemp oil wood finish and deck stain).”

However, a lot of people are excited by the use of hemp oil for medicinal purposes. Hemp oil contains a substance called cannabinoid or CBD. Proponents of hemp-derived CBD oil claim that it has effectiveness for everything from diabetes to cancer.

While some scientific evidence suggests that the oil can help people suffering from chronic pain or anxiety disorders, most of the health claims for hemp derived CBD oil is unproven.

The Food and Drug Administration is hastening to conduct studies on these health claims. In the meantime, hemp oil is sold in Texas in a variety of forms, including pills, salves, and even in gummy bears, designated as a food supplement.