Skip to main content

Tag: Legislation of Texas HEMP

Wyatt Purp: The Brand Changing Texas Cannabis landscape

(Story Originally written Jan 16th 2023 but was withheld by Wyatt Purp Legal Council)

 

Longtime friends Wyatt Larew and Dustin Ragon started their cannabis brand, Wyatt Purp. The business name stems from their cannabis oil that turns purple when it oxidizes. It’s also a play on Wyatt Earp, the American lawman and gambler who is portrayed in the classic movie “Tombstone.”

 

Ragon plays a behind-the-scenes operational role, while Larew is the dynamic face of the company. The pair call themselves complete opposites, but they complement each other nonetheless.

 

“I can’t do what he does, and he can’t do what I do,” Ragon said. “So it’s kind of like a perfect match.”

 

Upon receiving Texas hemp producer license No. 413 in 2020, Larew said he was determined to remain compliant with state laws. Originally, Ragon and Larew set out to manufacture delta 8 and other synthetic isomers but changed their minds after speaking with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

 

“When you manufacture a drug, whether it’s delta 9 or delta 8 or any other synthetic isomer, you’re manufacturing a drug that replicates or is just like marijuana, and the intent behind that is that you manufactured a schedule 1 drug,” Larew said.

 

Larew said he went on to create a cutting-edge THC delivery system using recycled waste from hemp operations.

 

“Every single person who makes CBD isolate has a byproduct of waste called mother liquor, and they throw it away,” Larew said. “I took their waste and turned it into natural THC. I found a way to isolate THC for $50 for 1 million milligrams. I took the same mother liquor and made 90% distillate so that I can make a much stronger product. When I started this, it was considered trash, and facilities would pay you to just haul off their waste. Now, they sell it. I completely changed the whole industry. This is the greatest up-cycle in human history.”

 

Larew calls his THC isolation technique multi-billion dollar technology but also says corporations have ignored it.

 

“They want to keep their monopoly [on synthetic THC], and they don’t want to produce quality products at a lower price,” he said.

 

Larew said he has concerns surrounding the production of synthetic products because the customer never knows who is making them or the equipment used.

 

A growing brand

 

Wyatt Purp’s products are sold in more than 100 Dallas-area shops, and the company also white labels products for Planet K stores.

 

“My company is always going to produce the best products,” Larew said. “I’ve won multiple awards for my edibles. My gummies are stronger than any marijuana gummy. They include all of your minor cannabinoids. That’s all I do is take the waste and remove the CBD, so you have an entourage effect.”

 

Wyatt Purp’s owners say they strive to cultivate long-term business relationships by providing premium products at competitive prices. The company also has a loyalty program that shoppers can sign up for on its website, wyattpurp.com. Every dollar spent equates to one point, and after earning 100 points, customers receive a coupon for 50% off all store products.

The flower of life

 

Larew said he had a near-death experience (NDE) related to a chronic kidney condition in 2019. During the phenomenon, he said he was given a glimpse into what’s next, as well as the notion that every plant is a conscious being like humans.

 

“I believe cannabis is a spirit, not just a plant,” Larew said. “That’s why there is so much karmic justice associated with it, and those that exploit it are never going to make it because they don’t realize what they’re messing with. During my NDE, I saw that cannabis was a really spiritual, powerful entity. It wasn’t like all of the other plants — it represents something like mother.”

 

While some may feel skeptical about Larue’s brush with the after-world, he says he has full faith in everything he saw and experienced. He calls cannabis “the flower of life” and believes humans were created through intelligent design to have and use it.

 

“Every mammal has an endocannabinoid system,” Larew said. “Whether you’ve ever used cannabis or not, you have it in your DNA. It controls your central nervous system and immune system. It’s part of what makes a Homosapien.”

 

Hate from the state

 

Larew has been vocal about his critical attitude toward state hemp and cannabis laws.

 

“The state just banned anyone in Texas from producing smokable hemp products in 2022,” he said. “We can still sell the products, just not from the farmers that are here.”

 

Additionally, Texas just opened a business license application period that will add more dispensaries to the state’s limited medical marijuana program. Requirements include a $7,500 non-refundable application fee as well as $10 million in liquid assets.

 

“The delta 8 and hemp thing in Texas was just a soft release of cannabis to get the people here to accept it. This was their incremental way of wedging their way in,” he said. “Now, they want to sell licenses to pharmaceutical companies and not allow anyone else to be part of it. The state wants to have a monopoly on cannabis productions.”

 

Larew points out that the state police are in charge of Texas’ medical marijuana program, which he calls obvious government corruption.

 

“They’re arresting people for using a schedule 1 drug that they say has no medical use,” Larew said. “They’re saying, ‘Unless you buy our drugs, it’s illegal.’”


A parting gift

 

As a result of his kidney condition, Larew said he has endured 15 life-saving surgeries in the past five years. Because he has a donor kidney that only matches three out of six genetic markers, he said he does not expect to live a long life.

 

“This is a patch, so this is my gift to everybody else,” he said. “I just know I was born for this. I know everything there is to know about cannabis. I’m a grower, and I have a spiritual connection to the plant.”

 

In the future, Larew believes that his technology will be accepted in industrial farming.

 

“We are just trying to bring natural safe cannabis options to the masses for a fraction of the cost of the government’s pay-to-play scam. It’s completely possible.”

 

Ragon echoes that sentiment and views Wyatt Purp as a way to provide a needed service for humanity.

 

“My mission is just to spread this medicine as far and wide as possible and get access to as many people as possible no matter what your income level is,” Ragon said.

 

The Possible Fate of Delta-8 in Texas

Texas advocates and business owners should be prepared at minimum to fight like hell if needed.

Texans turned out to the polls late October and early November to show who they favored to be stewards of Texas for the next two to four years.

The results are a largely unchanged Texas legislative landscape. Republicans still have a majority, a few new faces will appear, and statewide incumbents that ran kept their seats.

Last year, I chimed in on delta-8 in Texas. I noted that in this next legislative session we can expect to see varied interests coming out on all sides, including medical marijuana groups that are going to have input about this, and the hemp industry needs to be ready with answers and be ready to fight for their products. We are all in this together and we all need to push the industry forward together in a healthy and responsible fashion if we want this to work.

I think those words are still true today. With what everyone saw transpire in the 2021 legislative session, people should be ready for a war on the hemp front overall. Delta-8 is not the only thing on the line.

We watched as several bills moved over to the senate, to include one that dealt with penalty reduction measures for concentrates of marijuana. The hemp clean-up bill was involved in the mess that resulted in the death of both bills.

Take a look at the current planks for the Republican Party of Texas and you’ll notice that they mention hemp. That the party wishes to reduce the regulation of hemp in the state. How would that even be done in a state where the state is looking for its program to meet just the minimum federal requirements to stay as open as possible?

The program gets more restrictive is what takes place. How can removing regulation make things more restrictive you may be asking. Currently the state of Texas has a regulation as part of the law for the hemp program that keeps a county from banning hemp as a whole or in part. They cannot ban the transportation through their county, per federal law, but when has that stopped Texas from still arresting for the transportation of hemp and confiscating the plant?

Deregulating in that area would allow places like Montgomery County, Navarro County, and counties across the panhandle to explicitly ban the substance. It could be flower they ban, it could be oils that they ban. Edibles could go away, so could industrial hemp if they so desire. They could just say that hemp as a plant is banned there.

Delta-8 was the obvious target last session. It was setup in a way to cause factions between the hemp industry. Farmers vs shops was the dichotomy that was evident in the end. Both should be on the same team though. The farmers make money from their product currently being sold by shops as the industrial side is still getting set up to process mass product. Ending either side of that equation in the next few years will cripple the Texas hemp market even further.

Federally a court has ruled that delta-8 is a legal item on that level. That if congress intended for it to not be an item of legal availability, the body could have done something about it by now. There is nothing that explicitly states though that a state has to keep a specific isomer.

This should be expected in the upcoming legislative session. And it must be said as a big picture item that hemp bills are not the only place where hemp can get torn apart. The industry will have to pay attention to all of the cannabis bills put forward this session. Delta-8 could face issues in any number of bills.

Pay attention to the advocacy organizations in the state and when they are releasing updates about legislative items. If you’re a consumer, be ready to write letters and show up to hand out information or be available when a mass lobby day is announced. For business owners and consumers alike, be ready to testify at committee hearings that could be scheduled for 8am one morning and not have the bill heard until 9-10pm at night or possibly later.

If you are a business owner in this space, this is part of running your business from the start of the legislative session, until the end of said session in 2023. Your business is on the line, your farm is on the line, your processing facilities are on the line. If you are a consumer, your favorite products are on the line. Do not let this slip away without a massive push to keep it in place at a minimum.

Up in Smoke: How Texas Burned Its Smokable Hemp Industry

Texas became the 43rd state to pursue a hemp production program when, on June 10, 2019, Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 1325, a bill relating to the production and regulation of hemp, into law. Currently, Texas law prohibits “the processing or manufacturing of a consumable hemp product for smoking.” Tex. Health & Safety Code § 443.204 (4). “Smoking” is defined as “burning or igniting a substance and inhaling the smoke or heating a substance and inhaling the resulting vapor or aerosol.” Id. at § 443.001 (11).

Interestingly, the original version of HB 1325, introduced by Representative Tracy King, contained no mention of smoking or smokable hemp. The first instance of the terms appearing occurred on April 15, 2019, in the Committee Substitute. Of note, the Committee Substitute contained no mention of inhaling “vapor or aerosol,” language later adopted that was intended to encompass vaping products.

The Texas Legislature granted regulatory authority to the Texas Department of State Health Services (“DSHS”) to draft and implement the rules that will govern the consumable hemp product program. On May 8, 2020, DSHS published its Proposed Rules in the Texas Register, which include the following prohibition: “[t]he manufacture, processing, distribution, or retail sale of consumable hemp products for smoking is prohibited.” § 300.104. Though it was no surprise that DSHS intended to ban retail sale of smokables, as a previous draft version of the rules released in December of 2019 included the retail ban, the rule has been expanded to include distribution of smokable hemp products as well.

The smokable hemp market is one of the fast-growing sectors in the hemp industry. In 2019 alone, flower and pre-roll sales were estimated to constitute $70.6 million dollars of the hemp market share. Hemp flower is the most lucrative portion of the hemp plant in today’s markets, for both farmers and retailers. So why has Texas, a state that touts itself for its agricultural prowess and favorable agricultural policies, elected to kill its smokable hemp market? While law enforcement may aver that no roadside testing mechanisms exist to differentiate hemp from marijuana, at least 40 other states currently operate hemp programs, and have for many years, with permissive flower sales, despite the lack of available quantitative field testing for law enforcement. Across the United States, hemp remains a highly regulated substance, subject to a hodge-podge of packaging and labeling laws, many of which, including Texas, require a URL link or QR code linking to a certificate of analysis, which demonstrates that the product contains less than .3% tetrahydrocannabinol.

WROCLAW, POLAND – FEBRUARY 04, 2020: Texas State Flag and word LEGALIZATION made of small wooden letters. Drug policy. Legalization of marijuana.

The statutory prohibition on the manufacturing and processing of smokable hemp products has already forced existing Texas companies to move their businesses out of state. Where Texas could have a taxable, job-generating business base, it has instead forced companies to abscond from its borders, taking other permissible factory operations, such as edible products, with them. As if that were not dire enough, DSHS now intends to override the Texas Legislature and ban the retail and distribution of smokable hemp – a move that will kill the entire smokable hemp market in Texas.

Unless DSHS removes the retail and distribution ban from its Final Rules, it is likely that a legal challenge will arise. As an agency, DSHS does not have the authority to adopt a rule contrary to the statute. Many in the hemp industry believe that a legal challenge based on the federal commerce clause would be an assured success and cite to an Indiana case, C.Y. Wholesale Inc., et. al. v. Holcomb, et. al., cause no 1:19-cv-02659 (S.D. Ind. 2019), as a final adjudication on the merits. However, an Indiana federal district court decision is not binding on the state of Texas. The Indiana decision was not a final disposition of the case. Instead, the order which is frequently cited was an order granting a preliminary injunction, which the state of Indiana promptly appealed to the Seventh Circuit, another forum where a decision will not bind the state of Texas. Lastly, Indiana’s challenge differed substantially from what a potential federal commerce clause challenge in Texas would look like because the Indiana law criminalized the possession of smokable hemp by an individual. A Virginia resident simply driving through Indiana could be arrested for possession of a smokable hemp product and charged with a Class A Misdemeanor. Texas law currently does not criminalize possession of a smokable hemp product by an individual.

So what can be done to fuel the flame for a smokable hemp market in Texas? First and foremost, you can submit public comment on the DSHS Proposed Rules until June 7, 2020, by emailing DSHSHempProgram@dshs.texas.gov, with “Comments on Proposed Rule 19R074 Hemp Program” noted in the subject line of the email. Because the ban on manufacturing and processing is statutory, DSHS has no authority to rescind this prohibition. To end the prohibition on manufacturing and processing, you need to contact your Texas Representatives and Senators now – our legislative session gears back up in January of 2021, and if resolution is not obtained in 2021, the Texas Legislature will not meet again for regular session until 2023.

Chelsie Spencer is a cannabis and hemp attorney at Ritter Spencer PLLC who represents clients in all facets of the cannabis and hemp industries, including dispensaries, growers, processors, manufacturers, retailers, and more. Forbes Magazine dubbed Chelsie the “rare friendly face in the midst of a cutthroat CBD hurricane, the person you want on speed dial when things turn sour.”