Skip to main content

Tag: Texas Hemp Reporter

TX Banning Delta-8 THC?

In a pivotal move this week, the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee convened to explore potential pathways for banning Delta-8 THC, following a directive from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. The hearing laid bare a host of issues that have thrust this hemp-derived compound into the eye of a growing storm.

Given its current legal status in Texas under the temporary injunction in the Sky Marketing case, Delta-8 THC products have become ubiquitous, which some witnesses said foster a dangerous misconception among consumers who believe they are purchasing a safe, regulated product. This situation stands in stark contrast to other states, even conservative ones, that have established comprehensive medical cannabis programs. Law enforcement finds itself in a quandary, as current technology struggles to distinguish between legal hemp and illegal cannabis products.

 

While cannabis earns praise for its superior efficacy in managing nerve pain compared to traditional medications, Delta-8 THC raises red flags, particularly concerning children’s health. A troubling surge in pediatric cases involving accidental ingestion has resulted in severe health issues. Experts and activists also sounded alarm bells about the potential for psychosis, especially among chronic users and children, underscoring the urgent need for stringent safety measures.

 

The hearing exposed gaping holes in the current regulatory framework. Many manufacturers self-report certificates of analysis, a practice that often leads to inaccurate product labeling. Enforcement is largely hamstrung, limited to food safety violations and products exceeding the 0.3% Delta 9 THC threshold. The state’s lack of jurisdiction over out-of-state labs further muddies the waters of quality control.

Ironically, the proliferation of Delta-8 THC is undermining Texas’s own highly restricted medical cannabis program. These products, which navigate fewer regulatory hurdles, are more affordable and accessible, causing a worrying decline in the state’s patient base. An influx of out-of-state products further complicates the market, making regulation an increasingly uphill battle.

 

A particularly disquieting issue is the proximity of Delta-8 THC sales in proximity to schools and other child-centric areas. This accessibility, paired with the alarming rise in accidental ingestion cases among children, has ratcheted up public safety concerns. Advocates are pushing for stricter regulations on packaging and marketing to prevent these products from appealing to minors.

In response to these challenges, the committee is weighing several consequential actions. They are considering revising Delta-8’s legal status to align with other states’ medical cannabis frameworks, enhancing product testing and certification standards, and bolstering enforcement mechanisms and of course, banning it outright. Additionally, they’re looking at regulating the influx of out-of-state products, launching targeted public health initiatives to protect children, and establishing proximity restrictions near schools.

 

Looking ahead, the committee plans to gather more data on Delta-8’s public health impact and engage a broad spectrum of stakeholders. Law enforcement, medical professionals, and industry representatives will all have a seat at the table as Texas works to forge a consensus on these critical changes. As the Lone Star State grapples with this complex issue, its decisions could reverberate across the nation, influencing the future of cannabis regulation in America.

 

Texas THC Beverage Challenge: 2024

In a delightful display of taste and aroma, the Texas Hemp Reporter hosted its premier THC Beverage Challenge, bringing together flavors from across the state in a spirited contest of the senses. Held in a lively, yet meticulously controlled blind taste test, six volunteers embarked on a four-hour journey to crown the finest THC-infused beverage. Judging was based on a series of criteria including packaging, intensity, nose complexity, taste complexity, and taste finish, with a perfect score totaling 180 points. The participants, all over the age of 21, were kept in the dark about the brands until the very end to ensure a fair and unbiased evaluation of each entry. This event not only highlighted the creativity and innovation within the industry but also celebrated the unique characteristics that make each entry special. Stay tuned as we dive into the flavorful results of this exceptional competition.


1st Houston Juice (140 pts.)
Houston Juice is the OG THC-infused drink that delivers a potent punch, embodying the essence of Houston’s unstoppable spirit. Each sip combines zesty apple, fiery ginger, and refreshing lemonade, infused with 12 mg of emulsified hemp extract for a cool, relaxing breeze on a hot Texas day, perfectly capturing the grit and grace of its vibrant community.

2nd Honey Suckle – Strawberry Lemonade (139 pts.)
HoneySuckle Brand NECTAR Seltzer offers a refreshing escape with its sparkling blend of sweet strawberry lemonade, infused with 5mg of Delta-9 THC for a gentle, uplifting experience. Perfect for any occasion, this carefully crafted seltzer promises a quick onset of relaxation and joy, making it a must-have that quickly flies off the shelves.

3rd Studio TBD – Green Tea Lemonade – Intense (135 pts.)
Studio TBDs Green Tea Lemonade is an expertly crafted, organic beverage designed for the experienced user, offering a potent blend of 25mg THC and 25mg CBD per can. This low-sugar, low-calorie, gluten-free, and vegan refreshment is infused with fast-acting hemp extract, providing a swift and powerful effect while staying federally compliant and suitable for those over 21.

4th Sweet Sensei – Pineapple Kiwi Express – Fizzy Lifters (127 pts.) (tied)
Sweet Sensi Fizzy Lifters offer an invigorating alcohol-free experience with their Pineapple Kiwi Lemonade, crafted from estate-grown hydroponic flowers using organic nutrients. These refreshing beverages are infused with a full-spectrum, strain-specific, high THC hash rosin, delivering a fast-acting, gentle buzz. Perfect for enhancing your day or relaxing your evening, each sip is a low-dose delight designed to elevate without the effects of alcohol.

4th Studio TBD – Green Tea Lemonade – High (127 pts.) (tied)
This organic single origin green tea lemonade is a refreshing, low-sugar, and low-calorie beverage, perfect for health-conscious consumers. Infused with 10mg THC and 20mg CBD per can, this fast-acting, gluten-free, and vegan drink offers anti-anxiety benefits and complies with federal regulations, available only to those aged 21 and up.

4th Texas Hippie Cooler (127 pts.) (tied)
The Texas Hippie Cooler seltzer is a refreshing journey through the heart of Texas, combining the distinct flavors of peach, grapefruit, and cucumber with a mellow dose of 4.20mg emulsified hemp extract. This low-calorie, low-sugar beverage brings a taste of Texan orchards, groves, and cool waters directly to your lips, ensuring a chill experience that’s as soothing as a summer breeze. Whether you’re enjoying a sunset in Big Bend or dancing in Fort Worth, this
drink is your perfect companion for any Texan adventure, embodying the spirit of freedom and the laid-back vibe of the Lone Star State.

7th Studio TBD – Green Tea Lemonade – Mellow (125 pts.)
Experience the refreshing taste of organic single origin green tea lemonade, a low-sugar, low-calorie option that’s both gluten-free and vegan. Each can contains 4mg THC and 25mg CBD, infused with fast-acting, sun-grown hemp extract, ensuring a calming, anti-anxiety effect while remaining federally compliant. Designed for wellness-focused adults, this beverage requires purchasers to be 21 years of age or older.

8th Hi – Wild Berry (124 pts.) (tied)
Wild Berry Hi Seltzer redefines refreshment with its pure, vibrant blend of natural berry flavors. Each 12oz can harmoniously mixes the seedy essence of raspberries, the ripeness of strawberries, and the tartness of blueberries, infused with 5mg of hemp-derived THC for a zero sugar, zero calorie, and zero alcohol experience. This 100% natural seltzer offers a unique, thirst-quenching taste that’s as functional as it is delicious, making it hard to put down once you start sipping.

8th Ease Up – Watermelon Lime – Oak Cliff Cultivators (124 pts.) (tied)
Introducing Ease Up, a non-alcoholic Watermelon Lime THC Seltzer that elevates your beverage experience with the perfect blend of botanical goodness and captivating flavor. Each 12 oz can combines the natural essence of ripe watermelon and zesty lime, offering a symphony of flavors that tantalize your taste buds while delivering a refreshingly crisp and invigorating sensation. With 10mg each of hemp-derived Delta 9 THC, CBD, and CBG, this sugar-free, zero-calorie beverage allows you to indulge guilt-free, enhancing both relaxation and social moments without compromising your health-conscious lifestyle. Perfect for those seeking tranquility and balance, Ease Up is your ideal companion, committed to well-being with every sip.

10th Sweet Sensei – Purple Tangie – Fizzy Lifters (123 pts.)
Sweet Sensi Fizzy Lifters present a revolutionary approach to refreshment with their alcohol-free, plant-based beverages, enhanced by a patented formula from owner Greg Autry. Crafted from estate-grown hydroponic flowers and all-organic nutrients, these drinks feature a potent, solvent-free Hash Rosin, delivering a gentle, fast-acting buzz. The Purple Tangie variety offers a low-dose cocktail infused with a balanced, full-spectrum, strain-specific, high THC blend, perfect
for enlivening your days and chilling your nights. Enjoy the delightful natural flavors in each sip, designed for a sublime, guilt-free experience.

11th Cannajuice – Mango Pineapple Lemonade (122 pts.)
Cannajuice brings a tropical twist to your refreshment routine with their Mango Pineapple Lemonade, infused with 25mg of hemp-derived Delta 9 THC. This vibrant beverage combines the lush sweetness of mango and pineapple with the crisp tang of lemonade, creating a perfectly balanced and invigorating drink. Each sip offers a potent infusion of THC, ensuring a relaxing and enjoyable experience that’s both delicious and potent. Ideal for those looking to enhance their relaxation with a fruity, flavorful escape.

12th PowerHouse – Lemon Lime – Power Biopharms (118 pts.)
Discover the zesty refreshment of Lemon Lime, a fizzy, sugar-free beverage infused with 5mg of D9 THC per 12-ounce can. Designed to enhance your plant wellness journey, this invigorating drink blends the crisp, clean tastes of lemon and lime for a delightful, bubbly experience. Perfect for sipping on a relaxing day, this product is meticulously crafted to meet legal standards with less than .3% delta-9 THC, ensuring a safe and enjoyable session. Please note: this product is intended for adults over 21, and caution is advised against mixing with alcohol, drugs, or medications, and operating vehicles or machinery after consumption.

13th Hi – Real Cherry (116 pts.)
Experience the bold and luscious taste of Real Cherry, a unique beverage crafted from domestically sourced American cherries. This drink offers a familiar yet distinctly unique flavor profile, combining sweet and dark cherry notes for a fruit-forward taste and a refreshing finish. With 0 sugar, 0 calories, and 0 alcohol, its a guilt-free indulgence. Each 12-ounce can contains 5mg of THC, derived from hemp and compliant with legal standards of less than 0.3% THC. Dive into the deep cherry flavors you’ve always loved, now enhanced with a tantalizing secret that makes each sip irresistibly refreshing.


14th PowerHouse – Strawberry – Power Biopharms (111 pts.)
Indulge in the refreshing taste of this Strawberry-flavored, fizzy beverage, a sugar-free delight infused with 5 mg of D9 THC in each 12-ounce can. This drink offers a vibrant, fruity experience designed to enhance your plant wellness with each sip. Perfectly balanced for enjoyment at any time, it contains 0 sugar, 0 calories, and is free from alcohol, making it a guilt-free choice for those seeking a subtle, relaxing effect.

15th Delta Light – Tropical Mango (103 pts.)
Tropical Mango offers a blissful blend of euphoria, relaxation, and calm with each sip, featuring 5mg of Delta 9 THC and 1mg of CBD in a sugar-free, zero-calorie formula. Perfect for social settings, this beverage allows for easy micro-dosing with its minimal, plant-based ingredients, enhancing any gathering without the guilt.


16th Tejas Tonic – Agarita Berry (100 pts.)
Tejas Tonic introduces the Agarita Berry flavor, capturing the essence of this native Texas bush. Enjoy the distinct, sweet-tart taste of the vibrant red berry that blooms across Texas, especially poignant on 4/20. With no need to brave the prickles of hand harvesting, this beverage brings 25mg of CBD and 5mg of THC to your glass, making it the perfect choice to celebrate the day with a taste true to Tejas.

17th Sweet Sensei – Mellow Melon Berry (99 pts.)
Sweet Sensi Fizzy Lifters deliver a mellow melon berry experience crafted with Greg Autry’s patented formula, using heavenly plant-based ingredients and high THC, solvent-free Hash Rosin. These alcohol-free beverages are made from estate-grown hydroponic flowers and all-organic nutrients, offering a fast-acting, gentle buzz to brighten your day and relax your night.

 


18th  | Blood Orange – Live Resin (97 pts.)
Experience the invigorating taste of Blood Orange, an expertly crafted beverage designed for & users with its robust blend of 20mg Delta 9 THC and 10mg CBD. This zero sugar, zero calorie drink offers euphoric, relaxing, and calming effects, infused with live resin terpenes and made from minimal, plant-based ingredients.

19th Tejas Tonic – Natural Lime (96 pts.)
Tejas Tonic combines natural lime flavor with a potent mix of 25mg CBD and 5mg THC, enhanced with boosted terpenes for a full-bodied experience. This refreshing drink offers a balanced blend for relaxation and well-being, perfect for those seeking a subtle yet effective way to unwind.

20th Hi – Lemon Lime (76 pts.)
Experience the unparalleled taste of Lemon Lime, where flavors are freshly extracted just days before canning, delivering a clean, crisp, and refreshing beverage. Zesty lime greets you first, evolving into a sweet and juicy limeade finish, with a fruit-forward taste that’s complemented by a sharp tartness, all in a bright, bubbly sip that contains zero sugar, zero calories, and zero alcohol.

21st OnlyDank Drink (70 pts.)
Introducing OnlyDank’s Revolutionary THC-Infused Drink, a passport to pure bliss and a world-first in legal beverages. Enjoy the unique blend of terpenes and hops infused with 20mg of THC in this refreshing, vibrant drink that contains zero carbs, sugars, or calories. This alcohol-free beverage is the ultimate way to elevate any occasion, providing an uplifting and guilt-free moment of relaxation.


Congratulations to Houston Juice for emerging as the standout in the Texas Hemp Reporter’s Top THC Beverage Challenge! We extend our heartfelt thanks to all participants who entered their unique and flavorful beverages into this exciting competition. Your creativity and commitment to quality have truly enriched this event. As we close out this thrilling taste test, we celebrate not only the winners but everyone who contributed, making this a memorable and enjoyable experience for all involved. Here’s to more such spirited competitions in the future! Cheers!

Building a Sustainable Texas, One Brick at a Time

Deep in the heart of Texas, a green revolution is slowly taking over.  This innovative change is being fueled by an unlikely hemp hero that is long celebrated for its versatility and sustainability, and ultimately a game-changer in the quest for eco-friendly construction and building materials.

As the development of hemp continues to flourish in Texas so does the need to construct a greener, more sustainable future. Traditionally, construction materials like concrete and steel have dominated the construction industry, but their production usually comes with a hefty price along with an additional environmental cost added to the price of building materials. Building and construction costs including cement have significantly increased since the COVID-19 Pandemic. Cement, which is a vital ingredient in concrete, accounts for a significant portion of global carbon dioxide emissions while interestingly enough, hemp offers a sustainable alternative that is renewable, biodegradable, and carbon-negative. Hempcrete will ultimately transform the construction industry for hemp farmers in Texas which are beginning to collaborate with their sustainable neighbors and consider investing their money in environmentally friendly construction materials for companies that manufacture hempcrete locally, leading the way toward sustainable building practices.

Photos: Paul Carbone

One of the most promising applications of hemp in construction is hempcrete, a lightweight, insulating material made from hemp fibers, lime, and water. This material uses hemp shives, aggregate, water, and a specific type of binder to act as nonbearing walls, insulators, plasters, and blocks.  Hempcrete offers several advantages over traditional building materials including superior thermal performance, great breathability, and resistance to mold and pests. Hemp fibers can act as a reinforcement in construction because it is known for their remarkable strength and longevity which can bolster concrete and plastics. This helps reduce our dependency on renewable resources such as steel and fiberglass. By incorporating hemp fibers into construction materials, we can reduce our carbon emissions and strengthen the resilience and durability of constructed edifices. Although the potential of hemp in construction is most obvious some regulatory and infrastructure constraints remain. Nevertheless, as our awareness grows around hemp and its benefits so does the continued environmental impact of conventional building materials. According to an article from de Zeen, “There has been mounting evidence that suggests the construction industry must adopt bio-based alternatives to common carbon intensive materials, such as concrete, to play its part in reducing emissions and limiting global temperature rises.”

Photos: Paul Carbone

Texas lands offer fertile soil and favorable climate conditions that are perfectly poised to lead the way in hemp cultivation for construction. By harnessing the power of this versatile plant, the state is not only reducing its environmental footprint but also stimulating economic growth in rural communities. Texas is ready to leverage the agricultural benefits of hemp to foster innovation in construction materials by continued education and research, we can position ourselves as a trailblazer in sustainable construction. This quest will help make way for a brighter, cleaner future for generations to come as we emerge as a powerful ally in the construction industry.

Testimony to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission

Comments on Proposed Rule Review Chapter 300

As the publisher of the Texas Hemp Reporter, I am honored to offer my testimony regarding the pivotal role our publication has played in advancing the understanding and development of the hemp industry in our state. Over the past four years, our comprehensive coverage has spanned across various media platforms, including our magazine, news website, and podcast, all dedicated to the thriving $25+ billion hemp industry.
Beyond our professional endeavors, the impact of hemp products hits close to home for my family. My wife, Jennifer, who battles Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis, relies on these products to alleviate swelling and inflammation. Additionally, my mother, Linda, found relief during her battle with lung cancer in 2020 and 2021, using CBD products as a complementary treatment alongside radiation and chemotherapy. Today, she stands cancer-free, a testament to the potential of hemp-derived remedies.
Throughout our journey, our business has served as an educational resource for farmers, entrepreneurs, and the general public, disseminating valuable information on hemp products for four years. We have distributed 350,000 copies of the Texas Hemp Reporter magazine across 26 issues, reaching communities in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, McAllen, Lubbock, Midland, and numerous smaller towns across central Texas. Furthermore, our podcast has aired on prominent radio stations such as ESPN and KLBJ, becoming a rare voice in terrestrial radio discussions on hemp-related topics in Texas.
Our efforts have not only informed but also influenced cultural conversations. We have conducted interviews with celebrities, lawmakers, agricultural commissioners, congressmen, industry leaders, and legal experts, shedding light on the burgeoning hemp sector. Our magazine has found its way into over 1,000 CBD stores and smoke shops, including major retailers like HEB, Randalls, and Whole Foods in central Texas.
While acknowledging the potential for improvement in Texas’ hemp and cannabis programs, it is imperative to recognize the state’s leadership alongside Tennessee and North Carolina in this industry. Texas has established a robust hemp program, paving the way for economic growth and job creation, supporting not only my family but also over 50,000 Texans employed in this dynamic field.
In conclusion, we express gratitude for the opportunity to contribute to the review of Chapter 300 and commend your commitment to exploring the vast potential of hemp. As journalists and media professionals, we take pride in our role in covering this topic and showcasing the remarkable benefits that this plant offers to our communities.
Thank you for your attention.
Sincerely,
Russell Dowden
Publisher, Texas Hemp Reporter

Exploring the Lone Star State’s Green Frontier of Texas Hemp Farms, by Grace Gonzales

As the cultivation of hemp continues to grow, Texas is emerging as a frontier for innovation in the hemp industry.  With the legalization of hemp cultivation in Texas, there has been a rapid expansion of the industry which includes a surge of curiosity among consumers, entrepreneurs, and enthusiasts alike.

For those who are eager to take part in the journey of hemp, from seed to the final product, there are a handful of hemp farms that offer a unique opportunity to explore the world of hemp from the lens of processing to the innovative methods used in this expanding industry. Participants may have the opportunity to touch, smell, and even taste different hemp varieties, gaining a deeper understanding of the plant’s diverse properties and applications.

According to Texas Monthly Magazine, there are 1,123 licensed hemp growers in the state, but many of them have seemingly been reticent to fully commit to the crop. Only two thousand of the five thousand acres designated for hemp growing were planted in 2020, according to the Texas Department of Agriculture.

At most hemp farms, visitors can stroll through fields of swaying hemp plants, learning about cultivation techniques and crop management practices for hemp. They can witness the harvesting process of curing the hemp biomass for further processing and participants can observe the extraction of CBD oil and other valuable compounds, as well as the production of hemp-derived products. They can also learn about the latest extraction methods, quality control measures, and regulatory compliance requirements. Participants learn about the agricultural and environmental benefits of hemp cultivation, including its ability to improve soil health, sequester carbon, and reduce the need for pesticides and fertilizers. They also gain insights into the potential uses of hemp in industries that range from textiles and construction to food and fuel.

Here is a short list of hemp farms in Texas that may offer specialized tours and or hemp products for the hemp enthusiast. There may be an extensive list of hemp farms published in a later issue or you can go to the Texas Hemp Growers Association webpage for more information.

  • Pur Isolabs, Bergheim, TX- offers hemp CBD products made from plants that are grown on-site, according to their website. They are open from Monday through Friday, from 11 to 5:30 pm, and on Saturdays, from 11 to 3 and 5 pm. Call them for more information got to: https://purisolabs.com/

 

  • Bayou City Hemp Co-Houston TX- Their focus on quality begins at the farm and continues throughout the process. The company invites you to connect with them so that you can experience their commitment the product for yourself. To schedule a tour or for general information, you can go to: https://www.bayoucityhemp.com/contact

  • Alamo Hemp Tours, San Antonio, -Alamo Hemp Tours is currently improving its tour experience and will update its schedule soon. For more information go to: /alamo-hemp-tours

 

  • VJ Farms, Palestine, Texas- According to their website, the story of VJ Farms begins in 1965 when the owner’s grandparents purchased land with the G.I. allowing them to purchase 72 acres in Anderson County that would initially serve as the family getaway. For more information or to schedule a tour go to: https://www.vjfarmstexas.com/

 

 

  • CBC Texas Farms, Laredo TX- For five generations, the company has been a steward of the land, and their venture into hemp farming compliments the established ranching and deer operations and they continue the family tradition. For more information go to: https://www.cbdtexasfarms.com/

  • Power Bio Farms, Euless, TX-Power Bio Farms was founded to bring local, premium, legal, and licensed high-quality CBD to more Texans, hand-crafted small batch products from seed to shelf with the utmost care, quality, and transparency. For more information, go to: www.powerbiopharms.com

Whether you’re a seasoned hemp enthusiast or a curious newcomer, these tours may offer valuable insights and new experiences, or opportunities for to learn all about the hemp industry. As the hemp industry continues to thrive in Texas, Texas Hemp Tours can be a vital lifeline for education and advocacy including community building that helps to shape the future of hemp in the Lone Star State and beyond.

Texas Hemp Tours have risen to meet this growing demand, providing an insider’s glimpse into the fascinating world of hemp production and innovation. You now have a chance to visit hemp farms first hand to witness the awe of the processing facilities, research labs, and limited product manufacturing sites to learn about every step of the hemp supply chain which includes the planting, harvesting, extraction, and product formulation of hemp cultivation. Some of these tours inspire participants to support the growth of the hemp industry and advocate for policy changes that foster its proper development.

By showcasing sustainable farming practices, responsible business ethics, and local entrepreneurship hemp tours can provide a platform for collaboration among industry stakeholders, fostering connections between farmers, processors, manufacturers, retailers, policymakers, and consumers. By bringing communities together, these tours catalyze innovation, stimulate economic growth, and build a stronger, more resilient hemp community in Texas.

 The Rise of Texas-Made THC Beverages

Welcome to the frontier of refreshment, where the spirit of Texas meets the innovation of hemp-derived THC beverages. Across the Lone Star State, a revolution is brewing, one tantalizing sip at a time. From the rolling hills of Dripping Springs to the bustling streets of Austin, Texans are embracing a new kind of drink—one that promises all the buzz without the fuzz. Let’s embark on a journey through the heart of Texas, where four trailblazing brands are crafting the future of leisurely sips.

Tejas Tonic: A Toast to Texas Tradition

First up, we mosey on down to Dripping Springs, where Tejas Tonic is stirring up something special with its new “Agarita Berry”. Imagine sipping on the essence of Texas, a drink so rooted in local tradition that it feels like a high-five from the Lone Star State itself. With 5mg of hemp-derived delta-9 THC, this carbonated marvel is the brainchild of folks who take “homegrown” to heart. No synthetics, no artificial flavors—just the pure joy of top-shelf THC and CBD, delivering a grin without the grimace of a hangover.

As Tejas Tonic expands, their commitment to natural, all-inclusive ingredients remains as steadfast as a Texas oak. It’s a drink that’s as friendly to the earth as it is to your taste buds, embodying everything from farm-to-table ethics to a laundry list of dietary considerations. If Texas pride could be bottled, Tejas Tonic would be it.

Restart CBD: A Zesty Texan Salute

Next, we shout “Hola!” to Restart CBD’s “Rita,” the non-alcoholic BFF you never knew you needed. Bid farewell to hangovers and hello to a zesty agave lime seltzer that’s as refreshing as a Texas spring. Crafted with the simplicity and purity of nature in mind, this blend of lime, agave, and 5mg of hemp-derived delta-9 THC is a testament to the art of minimalism. With every sip of Restart CBD, you’re not just drinking a seltzer; you’re imbibing the spirit of Texas innovation.

Cheech & Chong Brands: High & Dry in the Sky

From the legendary duo that needs no introduction, Cheech & Chong Brands brings you “High & Dry,” a beverage line that’s as iconic as its namesake. With flavors like Magic Mule and Raspberry Highball, these drinks are your ticket to a euphoric journey through the clouds. If ginger and lime had a love child, it’d be the Magic Mule, a drink so divine it’ll have you saying, “Dave’s not here, man,” because you’re too busy riding high on this fizzy concoction.

Oak Cliff Cultivators: Ease Into Texas Bliss

Oak Cliff Cultivators invites you to “Ease Up” with their Watermelon Lime flavor. It’s a symphony of taste, a perfect balance of sweet watermelon and tangy lime, infused with 10mg of hemp-derived delta-9 THC for that just-right buzz. This beverage is like a Texas sunset in a can—vibrant, unforgettable, and deeply satisfying.

Hill Beverage – Snoop Dogg’s “Do it Fluid”

Introducing the sip that’s as smooth as the man behind it: Snoop Dogg’s “Do it Fluid” by Hill Beverage. It’s a bold statement in a small package, blending the tangy taste of Blood Orange with a pioneering NANO blend of hemp-derived CBD and delta-9 THC. It’s designed for those who appreciate the finer things in life—chill vibes, bold flavors, and a health-conscious buzz. At 8 ounces, it’s the perfect companion for any laid-back gathering or a solo night in, ensuring you’re enjoying the citrus zing with just the right hint of relaxation.

Sweet Sensi – Fizzy Lifters

Prepare for lift-off with Sweet Sensi’s Fizzy Lifters, the groundbreaking rosin drink. Greg Autry’s patented touch has given life to a beverage unlike any other—a symphony of natural flavors and potent, high THC Hash Rosin, crafted from hydroponically-grown flowers. Whether you’re unwinding or getting the party started, these fizzy delights, available in Pineapple Kiwi Express, Mellow Melon Berry, or Purple Tangie, are sure to elevate your day. A gentle buzz without the alcohol, this is what innovation in relaxation looks like.

Power Biopharms – Power House

Cheers to wellness in a can with Power House, the collaborative creation from Martin House Brewing Company and Power Biopharms. This sugar-free seltzer doesn’t just quench your thirst; it redefines it. With 5mg of hemp-derived Delta-9 THC per can, choose between the zest of Lemon Lime or the sweet kiss of Strawberry—or don’t choose at all and mix it up with a 50/50 split. Responsible enjoyment has never tasted this good, with every sip of this effervescent elixir reminding you of the power of plant wellness.

Drink Delta – “Delta Light”

Say hello to “Delta Light” from Drink Delta, the epitome of social sipping. This zero-calorie, sugar-free, Tropical Mango-flavored delight is your ticket to a relaxing, euphoric escape. Designed for micro-dosing, “Delta Light” is the go-to option for those looking to maintain the perfect social buzz with minimal impact on the waistline. Crafted with minimal and plant-based ingredients and 5mg of hemp-derived delta-9 THC, it’s the responsible way to savor a calming and delicious experience.

SXSW Outlaw Party: Championing Cannabis Justice with Art, Music, and Advocacy

Austin, TX – The SXSW Outlaw Party, a beacon of hope and activism in the heart of Austin, is set for March 12th at Pour Choices Bar, from 8 PM to 2 AM. This event, proudly presented by Cheech & Chong’s Cannabis and Dreamz Cannabis Investments, invites attendees to a night dedicated to cannabis culture, advocacy, and the arts.

The event will feature a live mural by Hail Mary Art Collective, creating a poignant and powerful piece on the side of Pour Choices to spotlight the ongoing injustices faced by individuals incarcerated for cannabis-related offenses. Music for the evening will be provided by Ellis Bullard, setting the tone for an unforgettable experience. Catering will be expertly handled by Cheeba Hut, ensuring guests enjoy a taste of Austin’s best.

John Fisher, CEO and Cody Fisher, COO of Dreamz Cannabis Investments and the new Cheech & Chong’s APOTHICARIA share, “Our involvement in this event is a testament to our commitment to cannabis justice reform. It’s an honor to support the Last Prisoner Project and to be part of an evening that promises to make a significant impact.”

Liz Grow of Grow House Media adds, “The Outlaw Party is a pivotal event that grows more impactful each year. With the support of Cheech & Chong’s Cannabis as this year’s presenting sponsor, we’re set to make an even greater mark in the fight against unjust cannabis laws.”

A diverse array of sponsors, including Weedmaps, BucannaLabs, Tejas Tonic, Errganix Hemp Farm, Texas Hill Country Vape & Smoke, Fresh Grown Texas, Wana Brands, Flower by Edie Parker, 4k Pharms, Rare Earth Genomics, GRAV Labs, and many others, are coming together to support this cause, each adding a unique flavor to the night’s festivities.

Mary Bailey, Managing Director of the Last Prisoner Project, states, “The dedication and support from the SXSW Outlaw Party are invaluable to our mission. Together, we’re not just raising awareness; we’re actively working towards a world where no one is imprisoned for cannabis.”

 

 

Event Highlights:

  • Date & Time: March 12th, 8 PM – 2 AM
  • Location: Pour Choices Bar, 401 E 6th St, Austin, TX
  • Tickets & Information: growhousemediaevents.com

Join us for a night of music, art, and advocacy. Your support helps us move closer to a future of freedom and justice for all. For tickets and further details, please visit www.growhousemediaevents.com.

About the Last Prisoner Project:

The Last Prisoner Project is at the forefront of the fight against cannabis-related incarcerations, working tirelessly to free those incarcerated due to the War on Drugs, reuniting their families, and helping them rebuild their lives. Any proceeds from the event will directly support the Last Prisoner Project in its ongoing efforts to reform cannabis laws and assist those unjustly affected by them. Learn more about their mission at www.lastprisonerproject.org or text FREEDOM to 24365.

Media Contact:

Liz Grow, CEO Grow House Media

Liz@growhousemedia.co

(512) 695-6747

High Stakes and Hurdles: Navigating the Challenges and Charting Solutions in the Thriving Hemp Market of Today

Since Hemp was first legalized in 2019 Texas, it has been thriving as a hub for the prosperous hemp industry. The cannabis industry has grown dramatically in recent years in response to expanding legalization. Texas has had its share of leaps and bounds over the past few years as the Lone Star State embraces the potential of hemp cultivation.

There have been many challenges (and solutions) faced by those trying to maneuver the hemp market that either propel or discourage them from moving forward. Some of those hurdles include having to navigate through the tangled web of complex rules and requirements, excessive fees, marketing censorship, and even regulatory compliance issues, just to name a few.

The hemp market is a dynamic industry influenced by factors ranging from global demand to bad weather conditions. Most farmers are faced with the uncertainty of the market that discourages them from moving forward, yet misconceptions about hemp still persist, leading to a lack of awareness and education.

AUSTIN,TEXAS, USA –

It’s important in any industry to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible to face regulatory changes that affect the community, farmers, advocacy groups, and businesses which can lead to a more streamlined approach to concerns. Submerse yourself in the who, what, when, and how of the industry to stay up to date with current rules and regulations that allow for the exploration of diversification strategies. Bridging the educational gap is crucial for dispelling industry myths and also helps to raise awareness of the diverse uses and benefits of hemp. This helps to build resilience in the face of a constantly changing market and helps overcome misconceptions that lead to the development of innovative solutions. Advocates must engage themselves in community outreach programs, workshops, and even public events to better inform consumers and policymakers about the uses of hemp and its benefits.  If these events are not readily available in your community, you can consider hosting your own Hemp 101 forum or workshop and start from there. You can also inform advocates about the latest technology trends that optimize farming operations and help match researchers with industry players to help form collaborations to support the continued growth and improvement of the industry.

As growth occurs, challenges arise, and coming up with new and innovative ideas will be vital for continued growth. When industry partners work together, bonds are reinforced and growth occurs.  Texas continues to shape its identity in the hemp industry and implementing innovative solutions essential to sustaining its growth for years to come. By working together, staying well informed, and adapting to the evolving landscape, Texas can become a world leader in a thriving hemp market.

Carlos Qualls: Revolutionizing the CBD Industry with Innovative Leadership and Strategic Growth

Leading with Vision: Carlos Qualls at the Helm of CBD Pros USA

 

In the dynamic landscape of cannabinoid products, CBD Pros USA emerges as a leading company in the United States, thanks in large part to the strategic leadership of Carlos Qualls, Senior Buyer & Vice President of Sales. His journey from Buckle to the forefront of the CBD industry is a story of visionary leadership and innovative strategies that are shaping the future of cannabinoid products.

 

A Strategic Shift to CBD Leadership

 

Carlos’s transition from his successful tenure at Buckle to CBD Pros USA was a calculated move. Recognized for his exceptional sales acumen and leadership qualities by Cody Fisher, co-owner of Buckle, Carlos was perfectly poised to take on the challenge of propelling CBD Pros USA to new heights. His decision to join the company marked the beginning of a transformative era in its history.

 

Redefining Industry Standards at CBD Pros USA

 

At CBD Pros USA, Carlos has been instrumental in establishing a culture that emphasizes education, unparalleled customer service, and leadership development. This approach has set CBD Pros USA apart, ensuring that every customer experience is consistent and enlightening across all locations. By fostering a team of knowledgeable leaders, Carlos has enabled the company to excel in balancing top-notch customer service with effective sales techniques.

 

Expanding Reach and Influence

 

Under Carlos’s guidance, CBD Pros USA has achieved significant milestones. When Carlos joined CBD Pros USA in 2019 they had one store. Currently, CBD Pros USA has 23 stores across the United States and 14 dispensaries in New Mexico. Strategic partnerships, such as the one with Cheech and Chong for NASCAR sponsorships, showcase the company’s expanding influence in the industry.

 

Quality and Transparency: The Cornerstones of Trust

 

CBD Pros USA stands out for its unwavering commitment to product quality and transparency. Adhering to third-party testing and securing certifications like USDA organic and GMP, the company ensures that customers have access to safe and reliable products. Carlos has championed these practices, understanding that customer trust hinges on product integrity and transparency.

 

 

Education and Training: The Foundation of Excellence

 

Recognizing the complexities surrounding CBD and cannabinoid products, Carlos has prioritized comprehensive education and training for all team members. This focus on knowledge empowers employees to provide insightful guidance to customers, further solidifying the company’s reputation as a leader in the cannabinoid market.

 

Navigating Challenges with Foresight and Resilience

 

Carlos’s role in navigating challenges, from public misconceptions to regulatory complexities, has been pivotal. His proactive involvement in the hiring process and strategic marketing ensures that CBD Pros USA not only maintains high standards but also actively educates the public about the benefits and safety of cannabinoid products.

 

Community Engagement and the Road Ahead

 

CBD Pros USA’s commitment to community engagement, evident in initiatives like food drives and volunteering, adds a meaningful dimension to its business model. Looking to the future, Carlos envisions leveraging the company’s growth for further expansion, particularly if legislative changes in Texas occur. His foresight and planning are setting the stage for CBD Pros USA to continue its trajectory as a national leader in the cannabinoid market.

 

Carlos Qualls’ Impact on CBD Pros USA and Beyond

 

Carlos Qualls’s journey at CBD Pros USA is not just about leading a company; it’s about setting new standards and driving growth in the cannabinoid industry. His story reflects a blend of strategic insight, unwavering commitment, and innovative leadership, positioning CBD Pros USA as a beacon of excellence in the United States’ cannabinoid market.

Ray Kaderli and His Visionary Approach to Hemp Building

In an industry burgeoning with possibilities, Ray Kaderli stands out not just for his innovative use of hemp as a building material, but also for his forward-thinking vision. As we go into the world of hemp building through Ray’s eyes, we find a blend of pragmatism, passion, and environmental stewardship shaping the future of sustainable construction.

Ray’s journey into hempcrete was initially driven by a quest for efficient and durable building materials. This quest became a passion when he discovered hempcrete’s sustainability  benefits following the 2018 Farm Bill. His company’s mission revolves around using healthy, planet- friendly materials to revolutionize the building industry.


Ray’s pragmatic approach to building materials evolved into a passionate entrepreneurial pursuit. The legalization of industrial hemp opened a world of opportunities, and Ray was quick to recognize the potential in hemp building. His previous experience in compost and organic recycling further fueled his drive for environmental stewardship, aligning perfectly with the opportunities hemp presented.

Ray identifies supply chain issues, lack of knowledgeable professionals, and distractions as the primary challenges in hemp building. His company addresses these through networking, leadership, and educational efforts. Initiatives like HempBuildSchool.com and HempBuildNetwork.com are testaments to his commitment to developing professional
resources and fostering a focused community in the hemp building sector.

Aiming to make hemp building mainstream, Ray’s company focuses on innovation in materials and methods. They are exploring mechanical installation, prefabrication, and new material mixtures, aiming to simplify and enhance hemp building processes.


Hemps ability to significantly reduce both embodied and operational carbon makes it a winner in sustainable building. Ray emphasizes the importance of moving beyond divisive political rhetoric to unite environmental stewardship and economic opportunity under one banner. Education is a key pillar for Ray’s company. Through Hemp Build School and participation in the US Hemp Building Association (USHBA), they aim to educate professionals and the public about the benefits of hemp building. The 2018 Farm Bill was a game-changer, according to Ray. He emphasizes the importance of understanding and navigating the evolving regulatory landscape, including codes, standards, and testing requirements, for the future of hemp building.


Ray’s company has evolved with a clear focus: PROJECTS. The demand for hemp building projects drives their growth, and Ray envisions a future where this demand only increases, propelled by successful project completions. Being an early adopter has given Ray a unique advantage. He believes in cooperating with peers for mutual success. His goal is to facilitate and supply projects, fostering a community where success is shared.

Looking back, Ray finds satisfaction in the stability and relationships built through his hemp building journey. The once uncertain path now seems more defined and promising, thanks to the collective efforts of his network.


Ray Kaderli’s story is not just about building with hemp; it’s about vision, resilience, and the relentless pursuit of a sustainable future. His approach – balancing economic viability with environmental responsibility – sets a precedent in the sustainable building industry, inspiring a generation of builders and entrepreneurs.

 

PODCAST # 143 Ray’s Interview on our Podcast The Texas Hemp Show.

2023: Year in Texas Cannabis Legal Developments and National Hemp Litigation Trends

2023 saw a number of consequential legal developments for the cannabis industry despite the failure of any law, pro or con, related to cannabis to pass during the Legislative Session, due to Leadership’s showdown over competing property tax proposals, despite the postponement of the new Farm Bill until next year, and despite the FDA’s punt on CBD.  Most of the legal action this year occurred in the court system across the country, where the terrain of what part of the plant is legal in what state continuing to shift on a daily basis.  Here is the latest as of December 2023 by topic:

Smokable Hemp

 

Though the smokable hemp case was decided last year, its chilling effects were felt in 2023.  The Crown Distributing case challenged statutory language in the Texas Hemp Act that addressed manufacture and sale, where the manufacture of hemp for smoking was specifically forbidden.  The chief impediment to the passage of Texas’ 2019 hemp law was the skepticism that cannabis would only be used for industrial and therapeutic CBD purposes; therefore, they did not want it to be smoked.  They thought if they kept you from making it, then you couldn’t sell it, not thinking about the internet and interstate commerce.  State Department of Health Services (DSHS) subsequently issued a rule that also explicitly forbade the sale of smokable hemp.  Because the retail ban was not as specific in the statute, the court held DSHS did not have the authority to also ban the sale of smokable hemp.  But the manufacture ban was clear and so we are stuck with that.  Because the mere application of labels to a consumable product is “manufacturing,” this one element of the operation now has to be outsourced to another state, at significant economic disadvantage to Texans.  In 2023, DSHS posted a notice on its website about the case and that the manufacture ban would be enforced, and formally adopted a rule banning the manufacture of hemp for smoking.  DSHS also commenced inspections and has been citing local companies making their own pre-rolls.  To remedy this absurdity, this Session, Rep. Briscoe Cain filed HB 4918 to eliminate the manufacture ban in the statute.  Other Congressmen who in sessions past were vehemently against smoking were less preoccupied with the issue in 2023.  This bill died with all the others.  The next opportunity to modify the smokable hemp law will be in the 2025 Legislative Session.

 

Delta 8/THC Isomers/Intoxicating Cannabinoids

 

 Intoxicating cannabinoids have been a controversial thorn in the Legislature’s side, as each session brings fresh drama between dueling prohibitionist hemp bills that threaten to wipe out the entire industry through vague and expansive language.  At the same time, positive hemp bills are being introduced, which made for a rich session of intense lobbying, only for it to all collapse under the property tax showdown.  Particularly worrisome was Sen. Perry’s SB 264 that prohibited the manufacture, sale, or purchase of a consumable hemp product that contains synthetically derived THCs, without defining what was meant by synthetically derived.  The bill also forbade the sale or distribution of cannabinoids unless they were GRAS by the FDA, an impossibility, and created concerning beyond the law penalties.  This bill did not pass.  Recently, Rep. Stephanie Klick, the author of the Compassionate Use Program (CUP), wrote in the Fort Worth newspaper about the scourge of delta 8 and other THC isomer products and the necessity of preventing children from accessing these products.  Rep. Klick is influential on these topics and was supportive of SB 264.  The next time to address these issues legislatively will be in 2025.

 

In September 2023, the Third Court of Appeals heard procedural arguments in the lawsuit pending against DSHS over the manner in which its Health & Human Services Commissioner changed the definition of THCs in the Texas Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in January 2021.  It is the Commissioner’s mandated duty to establish and modify the CSA schedules, and she does so periodically, through a required notice and comment process.  The new THC definition makes all THCs illegal, with the exception of delta 9 from hemp under .3%, effectively making delta 8 and any other THC isomer an illegal controlled substances.  DSHS testified in the 2021 Legislative Session at a hearing on a bill to outlaw delta 8 that it considered delta 8 to be illegal already anyway due to this definition.  After a lawsuit was subsequently filed against DSHS by hemp companies, a temporary injunction was issued to suspend the effectiveness of the definition change until a later legal resolution.  The court delayed an uncommonly long time in hearing arguments in this case, likely waiting out the Legislative Session so a ruling would not be rendered moot.  The only effect of the September court ruling is that the injunction will continue to stay in place allowing business to continue as usual until a trial is held in the lawsuit which will finally determine the matter of whether the definition change was effective or not.  This should occur in 2024.

Law enforcement intervention of hemp stores selling various types of intoxicating hemp products, including THCa flower, hit a fever pitch in 2023, along with DSHS inspections and enforcement.  THCa brings its own legal conundrums and growers and sellers are subject to two distinct bodies of law that are not congruent with one another:  civil/regulatory/administrative versus criminal law and the CSA.  The Texas Crime Lab decarboxylates products, instantly converting THCa flower into marijuana, and tests other products under differing standards from hemp labs, resulting in stiff felony charges for products carrying a “compliant” hemp Certificate of Analysis.  None of these criminal cases has made it through the system, so 2024 will likely bring a reckoning on the exploitation of perceived loopholes in the hemp laws.  Note that the 2018 Farm Bill made falsification of a COA a felony – and we are seeing lots of modified COAs.

 

Hemp Laws and Lawsuits in Other States

 

States across the country are enacting legislation to severely curtail or completely eliminate hemp derived THCs and intoxicants, motivated by a mixture of governments seeking to ban intoxicating cannabinoids and marijuana industry players who have to spend considerably more on their regulated products than hemp companies do.  Procedurally, as in Texas, in most of these cases, the current postures of the lawsuits are that an injunction is in place allowing the manufacture/sale of the to-be-banned cannabinoids until trials on the merits can be conducted to resolve the legal disputes. In March, DEA declared THC-O to be a controlled substance.  In May, the DEA announced that a rule regarding synthetic cannabinoids would be forthcoming, but we have not seen it yet, and an official stated Delta 8 was considered illegal even when extracted from legal CBD.

 

So, we continue to piece together the agency crumbs and litigation across the country to determine what is likely legal or not.  2023’s notable laws and litigation included the following:

 

Kentucky, Florida, and Tennessee each enacted flaws to regulate hemp products to prevent the sale of products to those under 21 and to prohibit the sale and marketing of hemp products that appeal to children.   Florida’s Department of Agriculture also inspected thousands of hemp companies and targeted 107,000 products marketed toward children.   Florida has just been sued by a hemp company challenging the new regulations.  As a result of a similar sequence of events in Kentucky last year, in 2023, Kentucky introduced regulations aimed at preventing sales to minors.  This has just gone through the notice and comment process, and will be one to watch in 2024.   Tennessee added age requirements and a special tax for hemp products.

 

In Alaska, a law was recently enacted banning any amount of THC in a hemp derived product, reserving the sale of those exclusively for marijuana licensees.  A lawsuit was just filed by the Alaska Industrial Hemp Association and will be one to watch in 2024.

 

Minnesota birthed a burgeoning hemp product market when it made rules allowing for higher concentrations of THC in hemp products last year.  But this year, Minnesota legalized cannabis for adult use, and it appears that hemp product makers will be held to registration and other requirements just as marijuana licensees, and synthetics and smokables will be banned.  Note that you must now register with the State if you are selling hemp products into Minnesota.  Another market to watch in 2024.

In New York, an injunction was just issued to prevent enforcement of emergency regulations that put extreme potency limits on the processing and retail sale of hemp products.

 

In Arkansas, an injunction was just issued to prevent the enforcement of a newly enacted law that criminalized all hemp synthetics and psychoactive substances.

 

In Maryland, an injunction was issued to prevent enforcement of a law that prohibited the sale of any intoxicating cannabinoids from hemp, reserving those products for marijuana licensees, which resulted in the closing of many stores.

 

In Virginia, an injunction was not issued to prevent enforcement of a law that banned delta 8 and enacted extreme potency limits on hemp products.

 

In Georgia, law enforcement was ordered to return seized hemp products after a court disagreed that the products were controlled substances.  Separately, the DEA just stated that Georgia’s plan to use pharmacies for medical marijuana distribution violates the CSA.

 

New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and North Dakota banned the sale of all the THC isomers.  At the beginning of the year, Louisiana issued regulations that made 100’s of hemp products illegal.  Lawsuits resulted in a walking back.  Note that you must have your product approved by the State to sell in Louisiana.

As for “Delta 9” products, a number of states have enacted regulations and restrictions on the potency of hemp products, such as Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Oregon, among other states mentioned in this article.

 

Selling and distributing hemp requires you to be familiar with all of these states’ legal ping pong matches, as the status of whether a product is legal or illegal can change overnight.  Not every state is mentioned in this article, which is meant for general informational purposes only, and not legal advice.

FDA Quits CBD Regulation

 

Things aren’t clear at the top, either.  On the day the 2018 Farm Bill was signed, FDA issued a statement that CBD may not be placed in food or beverage in interstate commerce nor marketed as a dietary supplement because CBD was already an FDA approved drug for epilepsy.  Subsequently, FDA held a number of public hearings and took reams of public comment on regulation.  Its Commissioner frequently spoke pro-actively about regulating CBD.  Then, in 2021, everything changed.  No regulatory activity at all has occurred since with CBD.

 

Nevertheless, FDA had no hesitation in throwing down plenty of roadblocks in 2023.  FDA (and sometimes FTC) sent hundreds of warning letters to CBD companies for making impermissible medical claims, and in 2023, FDA denied several investigational new drug applications, even though they contained the medical studies that FDA claimed it needed.

 

Further, at the end of 2023, the FDA punted everything altogether, issuing a statement saying Congress needed to develop a special regulatory pathway for CBD, leaving hemp companies in a precarious legal limbo situation, trying to operate responsibly in an environment that refuses to specify any uniform standards.  The lack of legal clarity prevents CBD companies from fully accessing business services and capital they need to grow.

 

 The Texas Compassionate Use Program

 2023 was the biggest year that wasn’t for the CUP since 2017.  Rep. Klick introduced HB 1805, which would have added chronic pain as a condition, would have created a 10 mg dose, and would have had a mechanism to add conditions between sessions.  This bill had broad bi-partisan support, positive hearings, and positive progress.  It really was going to make it, but for the property tax showdown.  So, we ended up with no improvements to the CUP, but that wasn’t all that happened.  In 2022, the Department of Public Safety (DPS), which oversees the CUP, began preparing for the inevitable expansion of the Program, and in January 2023, DPS opened CUP applications for the first time since 2017.  Currently, there are only three licensees to serve the whole state, all 3 of which are around Austin, and only 2 of which are operational.  DPS recognized that patients are not being effectively served across the state through essentially only one provider, so steps are being taken to expand the manner in which patient access is provided.  DPS is conducting studies to determine how many licenses should be issued, where, when, and to whom.  But, due to the lack of a change in the law, all the hype that saw 245 companies submit applications for a license, resulted in no judging yet of the applications that were due in April.  2024 should be active on the application and rulemaking front for the CUP, and 2025 will see a renewed effort to grant Texas a viable bona fide medical program.  I am hopeful that changes in federal laws and leadership will provide political cover for Texas to finally relent and let us use cannabis therapeutically at least.  Anyone that wants us to have an actual cannabis industry must begin lobbying your representatives and senators during 2024 – once they are in session, they will not be able to take your donations, so now is the time to make your voice and your interests heard.

Historic strides were also made in decriminalization and penalty reduction bills pertaining to marijuana possession this Session, but as all the bills, they died with the property tax showdown.

 

Federal Rescheduling?

A potentially significant move was made this year when the President asked Health and Human Services (HHS) and the DEA to re-evaluate and reschedule marijuana.  Because marijuana is federally illegal for all purposes as a schedule one controlled substance, businesses cannot deduct expenses or use banks, among hundreds of other issues caused by the conflict between state and federal law.  In December 2023, HHS released hundreds of pages of documents related to its recommendations to DEA for the rescheduling of marijuana to Schedule 3.   HHS’ review focused on currently accepted scientific medical uses for marijuana, as well as its abuse potential. Those redacted records are posted on the On Drugs blog by Matt Zorn and Shane Pennington.  Both pro and anti marijuana politicians have urged DEA acceptance/rejection of the recommendation. Schedule 3 would  alleviate the business issues, but will create completely unknown new ones, considering the oversight the FDA has over the dispensing of drugs on the schedules.  The hope is that the many federal agencies involved in the determination will come to an actionable consensus before the next presidential election, which would set the tone for a new era of legal cannabis in 2025, coinciding with, and potentially having positive effect on our own legislative session that year.

Rescheduling would also aid in ushering in comprehensive legalization laws to address the conflicts between the states.  The legalization bill prepared by Nancy Mace is the most business friendly and sensible effort, and it also addresses CBD regulation.  Several more states legalized in 2023 for a total of 24 adult use states, with more than 50% of the population now living in a legal state, and, a record of 70% of people supporting legalization according to Gallup, up from 12% in 1969.   2024 should be a yuge year for cannabis nationwide, unless it isn’t….

 

Contact me if you have any questions about the status of the ever-evolving laws here in Texas and beyond at Lisa@Pittman.Legal.

Grunt Style: A Heroic Legacy of Patriotism and Healing

 

From the formation of the United States to the ongoing struggles that our veterans face today, Grunt Style embodies a legacy of patriotism, resilience, and unwavering commitment to America’s heroes. Grunt Style is not just a clothing brand – it’s a movement, a testament to the indomitable spirit of America’s military personnel and their families.

Dressing the American Spirit

“Who we are, to us, what you wear is more than just a necessity; it’s about attitude!” As stated on their website, Grunt Style has always been about instilling the fierce, fighting American spirit into everything they produce. With a dedicated team of nearly 400 people, their mission is to design and deliver the most patriotic apparel, ensuring that every American can wear their pride from head to toe.

However, this brand is not just about the clothes. It’s about the ethos – the unyielding commitment to freedom, the love for bacon, whiskey, and everything else that defines America. And as their iconic logo history suggests, each symbol and phrase – from the crossed 1792 Springfield muskets to the motto “This We’ll Defend” – reflects a deep-rooted reverence for America’s rich history and unwavering values.

Beyond Apparel: The Grunt Style Foundation

Founded in 2021, the Grunt Style Foundation takes the brand’s commitment to service members, veterans, and their families a step further. Recognizing the dire mental health challenges that plague the veteran community, this national nonprofit organization offers life-changing resources and experiences. Their core belief is simple yet profound: No veteran should ever be left behind.

Staggering figures underscore the urgency of their mission – in the last 20 years, 30,177 service members lost their lives not in combat but to the agony of suicide. As Tim Jensen, the President of the Grunt Style Foundation, emphasizes, “This is unacceptable.” Hence, the foundation is forging innovative paths, exploring alternative treatments like THC in Cannabis, Psilocybin, DMT, and Ayahuasca to combat PTSD and alleviate the harmful long-term effects of prescription opioids and opiates.

But the foundation’s efforts don’t stop there. Food insecurity, an often-overlooked challenge that military families face, is also at the forefront of their agenda. This Labor Day weekend, the Grunt Style Foundation aims to distribute a whopping 36 tonnes of food to active military members and their families, exemplifying their comprehensive approach to supporting our nation’s heroes.

A Leader with a Vision: Tim Jensen

Tim Jensen is not just a businessman; he’s a trailblazer. The U.S. Marines instilled in him invaluable leadership skills, shaping his journey from a serviceman to the co-owner of Grunt Style and a published author. His book, “Violent but True Bedtime Stories,” and the planned series is a testament to his dedication to preserving and sharing real military stories with a unique, tongue-in-cheek twist.

With Grunt Style’s apparel featured in over 17 retail locations and more than 4,000 wholesale outlets, including giants like Buc-ee’s, Academy, and Cabela’s, Jensen’s leadership has undoubtedly propelled the brand to great heights. Yet, at its core, Grunt Style remains committed to its roots, bolstering a lifestyle that champions patriotism and service.

A Call to Action

As we admire the vibrant, patriotic designs on Grunt Style’s apparel or browse their Instagram page, let’s not forget the deeper mission that drives this brand. Behind each t-shirt and each initiative lies a heartfelt plea – to remember, support, and uplift every American hero who has risked it all for our freedom.

Every American might not be a veteran, but every American can stand by them. Grunt Style reminds us of that duty, urging us all to defend the legacy and well-being of our nation’s bravest.

This We’ll Defend.

5 Lessons I’ve Learned in 5 Years in Texas Hemp

August 2023 marked 5 years of RESTART, the hemp based retail cannabis brand I own and operate with my two sisters in Central Austin (in addition to hosting the To Be Blunt podcast).

We hold one of the states original hemp licenses in what has grown to become a sea of operators ranging from dispensaries to wholesalers, distributors, manufacturers, cultivators, labs and processors. 

We’ve navigated through two legislative sessions and countless other industry lawsuits like the smokable hemp ban that was imposed last summer, not to mention the ongoing attack on Delta 8 THC.

Since 2020 we’ve been executive board members with the Texas Hemp Coalition, which has enabled us to advocate and influence policy – In fact I just made my second trip back from D.C. where we got to meet with key federal stakeholders regarding pressing issues impacting hemp operators and retailers like myself. 

© David Brendan Hall / www.davidbrendanhall.com

And we lead by example and focus heavily on educating our team so that we can pass that education onto our customers.

I’m super proud of what we’ve accomplished, and as a native Texan, still a bit in disbelief that we have the opportunity to work in this industry in my home state.

It does come with it’s set of challenges from marketing, and banking, to compliance, but it’s also been rewarding pioneering in the industry and helping pave a way for this new market to exist. 

All I can hope is that the next five live up to the first five. 

So in honor of that, here are five lesson’s I’ve learned in five years in Texas Hemp:

  1. Always Have a Backup Plan – Whether it’s a backup payment processor or a backup plan for packaging because your shipment of pop tops got held at customs, you must always be prepared due to unforeseen circumstances. Running a business is hard, but running a business in hemp/cannabis is like driving to a destination without GPS. You may generally know the direction you are going from A to B, but you have no idea what road closures or detours may be up ahead so you have to be prepared for anything to happen. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, so be prepared and keep rolling with the punches and probably have a backup plan for your back up plan just in case.
  1. Evolve or Die – Things move fast, like super sonic. From science expanding, to laws changing, what we know about the boundaries of this industry are constantly evolving and to stay in the game you have to keep moving. When we first entered the marketplace in 2018 the primary product we were selling was CBD sublingual oils, which is a complete 180 to what my top product category is in 2023 (it’s THC edibles in case you’re wondering.) Plus, here we are five years later and we have a plethora of cannabinoids to choose from in addition to CBD like THC, CBG, CBN, and THCV. Of course, this could all change on the flip of a dime, which is reinforcing my motto to always have a backup plan and keep evolving!
  2. Don’t Believe The Headlines – In the spirit of our industry being so knew, there is going to be a lot of chatter and hype, and in reality misinformation. It’s always served me well to keep an open mindset and to pay attention to as much perspective as possible. As a Texas operator, what is going on in Texas is extremely personal to me, but other states looking in might not be able to relate to what’s going on and vice versa. We have an opportunity to make a real impact with this plant, but we have a lot of stigma to work through both inside and outside of the general hemp and cannabis community. Because this is a moving target the information is updating constantly so paying attention to the fine details and not getting caught up in headlines is key.
  3. Stay Curious – To succeed you must become a sponge! Talk to as many people as you can and learn as much as you can about the laws, the plant, the science, and the market. Talk to your peers, talk to your operators, get involved, watch the trends, and then apply that to your own business or brand. Putting on the To Be Blunt podcast over these last three years has enabled me to stay in tune with what is going on nationally while also allowing me to have a platform to share realtime updates about our market here in Texas. Additionally organizations like the Texas Hemp Coalition are invaluable for connecting key stakeholders together so that the rising tide can lift all boats. It’s been great to meet other operators and have a community of peers that are also going through the same things which feels empowering to know we’re not alone.

  4. Think Like a Consumer – At the end of the day, this industry is becoming a CPG (consumer packaged goods) industry and I put emphasis on the “consumer” part. The customer comes first, and if you’re smart, you’d actually talk to your customers and get their feedback. Especially here in Texas where, for example, a lot of our community is unaware of variances between Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC which causes us to have to overly educate and think through their challenges when engaging with these products. We should also take into consideration all the aforementioned information included in points 1-4 when it comes to bringing these consumer packaged goods to market. There is a legal landscape, a regulatory landscape, quality assurance and safety concerns, as well as efficacy that the consumer is seeking that all need to be taken into consideration if you want to succeed not only today but tomorrow too.

So the final piece of advice is to now figure out what that looks like for you, your brand, your business and then implement a plan to take the next best step forward to help you better navigate and understand the playing field.

Maybe that’s joining an advocacy group like the Texas Hemp Coalition, or pressing play on one of my many free To Be Blunt episodes which you can tune into Monday’s at TOBEBLUNTPOD.com.

Whatever you do, don’t take your foot off the gas!

“The Texas THC Challenge: Top 10 THC Beverages in the Lone Star State”

This wasn’t a rushed tasting, but an exploration that spanned three hours. The students were provided with cheese, meats, and crackers as palate cleansers, allowing them to experience the>full spectrum of each drink’s profile before moving on to the next one. Each beverage was rated on four criteria: taste, smell, the presentation of the liquid itself, and the brand’s presentation. Taste and smell are, of course, the primary factors in any beverage’s appeal. But we also recognized that the visual appeal of a beverage – its color, consistency, and even the design of its packaging – can significantly impact a consumer’s overall experience. Once the blind tasting and scoring were completed, the brands were revealed, and the students could reflect on the impact of branding on their overall perception and experience. Here were the results…

1st Place – THC Lemonade (Blue Raspberry) by DANKK: A non-carbonated liquid sensation bursting with potent lemon aroma and the nostalgic taste of blue raspberry lemonade. The drink’s slight hint of cannabis flavor and a juice-like consistency with lemon pulp made it a favorite, securing a perfect score. A potent concoction containing 50 mg of hemp-derived Delta 9 THC, the THC Lemonade stood proud at the top of the ranking.

2nd Place – Lemonade by Smilyn: This carbonated beverage features a delightful blend of lemon and lime flavors, with a dash of sweetness and a hint of menthol aftertaste. Its cloud-like appearance similar to Smirnoff Ice and a simple can design mirrored its straightforward Californian roots. With 50 mg of Delta 8, it received a well-deserved second place.

3rd Place – Houston Juice: This ‘Zen, Focus, and Caffeinated THC Drank,’ packs a punch with 12mg of Hemp-Derived THC. Its sour Skittles taste and peachy aroma, coupled with a lively can design boasting Texas’s biggest city, had the students raving. This carbonated sensation won unanimous acclaim, earning a 5/5.

4th Place – Honey Suckle’s Nectar Seltzer (Strawberry Lemonade): Scoring a 3/5, this carbonated refresher emanates a berry-like smell, with a sparkling berry water taste and a hint of citrus. Its flavor profile, despite not aligning perfectly with its name, made a positive impression. The Strawberry Lemonade contains 5mg of hemp-derived Delta 9.

5th Place – F8ED’s Cosmic Blast: With a score of 3/5, the non-carbonated drink brings forth an
artificial orange flavor and smell. The vibrant orange color of the liquid matches the bottle’s
elaborate decoration, housing 25mg of Delta 8 THC within.

6th Place – Third Coast, Beach Break (Watermellow): A 2/5 rating reflected the unexpected blend of cucumber and melon taste and smell. Its beachy summer vibe can design encloses 5mg of Hemp Derived Delta 9 THC, making it a carbonated treat for the taste buds.

7th Place – Howdy, Paloma: Sporting a picturesque can featuring a bronco-riding cowboy, this carbonated delight, infused with 2.5mg of Hemp Derived Delta 9 THC, offered a genuine orange flavor. One student, hailing from the Valley, Texas, fondly commented that it tasted like home.

8th Place – Howdy, Ranch Water: Another from the Howdy stables, this carbonated drink also featured the cowboy-bronco logo on a green can. Despite its overwhelming smell, the bitter-lemon taste was appreciated by a student from the Valley. However, it gathered a modest rating of 1/5. 9th Place – “Lil Bit” by 8th Wonder (Canna-Berry flavor): The can, although described as bland,contained a carbonated liquid that unleashed an artificial berry aroma and wild berry taste. This Low-Dose THC Seltzer, with 2mg of hemp-derived Delta 9 THC, scored 1/5.

10th Place -Tejas Tonic: This carbonated, lime-centric drink, which garnered a 0/5 rating, stole the show with its can design. The testers agreed that while the beverage wasn’t unpleasant, it would better serve as a mixer. Three students appreciated the distinct taste of cannabis, aligning with the ‘terpene boosted’ advertisement on the can, containing 5mg of Hemp Derived Delta 9 THC.

Texas, with its expanding THC-infused beverage industry, is setting trends that other states might soon follow. These beverages, their unique flavors, and vibrant packaging are reflective of Texas’s dynamic culture, leaving consumers eagerly anticipating the next innovation.

Does The Hangover Blocker by Sweet Sensi actually work?

As the years go by, I find myself drinking less and less because the hangovers keep getting worse and worse. But every once in a while, it would be nice to indulge in a fun night out without having to suffer the brutal consequences. 

This is exactly the problem Sweet Sensi’s new product solves. The Hangover Blocker is comprised of prickly pear, CBD and B12. I have heard that prickly pear is a magic hangover cure, but I brushed it off as an old wives’ tale. With Sweet Sensi’s new product hitting the market, I finally had the chance to find out for myself. 

It was a typical Saturday night, and I decided I wanted to go out and unwind with some drinks. I took the four capsules that make up The Hangover Blocker with 16 ounces of water as the package directs. The directions also advise taking the pills two hours before drinking, but I only waited one hour.

I wanted to put The Hangover Blocker to a true test, so I didn’t hold back. I had beers. Then, I had shots of tequila and whiskey followed by more beers. I indulged in what would normally result in two days of misery. But not this time.

When I woke up the next morning, I felt hungover at first. But the symptoms quickly faded. The next thing I knew, I was out enjoying brunch and a Bloody Mary at Bouldin Acres In Austin. Based on past experience, I would have without a doubt spent the day in bed if it weren’t for The Hangover Blocker. 

Needless to say, Sunday Funday got a little carried away, and the drinks kept flowing. When I got home that night, I took another package of The Hangover Blocker hoping it would save me. On Monday morning, I arrived at my office at 8 a.m. with a smile on my face and no hangover. 

I 10/10 recommend this product. Visit sweetsensiwellness.com to try it for yourself.