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Tag: Texas Hemp Reporter

New Laws in Texas for Hemp

Despite its stance on marijuana, Texas is not lagging behind on the hemp bandwagon.  Hemp is rising even faster from the shadows of prohibition than marijuana. Products containing hemp extracts high in CBD, such as oils, topicals, and infused products, gained such mainstream popularity and acceptance under the 2014 Farm Bill, that on January 1, 2019, hemp became federally legal and removed from the definition of “marijuana” under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Under the 2018 Farm Bill, signed December 20, 2018 by President Trump, if Texas had not passed a hemp law during the 2019 Legislative Session, it would have been subject to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) default rules for growing hemp as a federally legal agricultural commodity.  

On June 10, 2019, Gov. Abbot signed HB 1325, legalizing hemp in Texas, and directing the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) to devise rules from planting to harvest, and the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to devise rules from testing to end consumable hemp product.  The rules address licensing qualifications and procedures, testing and inspection requirements, reporting and record keeping requirements, distribution, manufacturing, and plans for disposal of “hot” crops (cannabis plants with >.3% THC), among other issues.  The TDA rules provide slightly more leeway in that if your crop tests at .3% THC within the measure of uncertainty given by the laboratory, then the crop is OK to be harvested and shipped off the licensed property with a transport manifest.  A transport manifest is also required to send in a sample for testing.

For a quick introduction to hemp, it is a type of cannabis plant comprised of many cannabinoid compounds, including CBD, CBG, CBN, and THC—the only compound that creates a “high.” In contrast to marijuana, which is tightly regulated from a law enforcement perspective because of its status on Schedule 1 of the CSA, hemp naturally contains low THC.  By law, for cannabis to be considered hemp, the THC concentration must be ≤0.3% THC. Until recently, hemp has not been subject to much regulation – though regulation is coming from multiple agencies including the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA retains regulatory authority over CBD, the compound of the cannabis plant that is now considered a drug rather than a dietary supplement because of FDA’s approval of a CBD formulation to treat epilepsy.  It is still unknown when the FDA will develop rules to regulated hemp CBD products or whether they will be placed in a dietary supplement category.  The FDA has already held public hearings, taken public comment on the regulation of hemp CBD, and issued a status report on their information gathering in their process of creating regulations.

The USDA released its “Interim Final Rule” (IFR) for farming hemp under the 2018 Farm Bill on October 31, 2019, with a lengthy notice and comment period. The USDA must approve each state’s plan, so even states that have already been producing hemp under the 2014 Farm Bill will have to adjust their programs to conform with the new USDA rules to receive a state plan approval by October 31, 2020.  The USDA received over 4,600 comments that it must consider before adopting its “Final Rule” to govern hemp production.  Some areas of extreme concern, including the requirements that testing laboratories be registered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and that a reverse distributor licensed by DEA must destroy hot crops according to DEA guidelines, are not going to be enforced through October 31, 2021 or publication of the Final Rule, whichever comes first. 

By way of background, under the 2014 Agricultural Improvement Act (the 2014 Farm Bill), hemp was still considered to be marijuana, and was only permitted to be grown in two limited situations: in conjunction with a state’s industrial hemp program or under a contract with a university’s research pilot program.  In neither of these instances were hemp or extracts made from hemp allowed to leave those states’ lines. But they did, even on Amazon, and the word got out about CBD’s ability to relieve inflammation, pain, anxiousness, sleeplessness, and other common ailments, without the side effects of synthetic drugs and opiates, or the high of marijuana.  The main states to take advantage of the 2014 Farm Bill were Kentucky, Colorado, Oregon, and Montana. After the 2018 Farm Bill, most states are activating hemp programs—and some did not wait on the USDA.

Our founding fathers grew hemp, and growing hemp was a requirement of some early Colonists.  Before 1937, industrial hemp was legal and used for clothing, paper, rope, and fuel. But in 1937, Congress passed the Marihuana Tax Act, which made all species of the Cannabis sativa L. plant illegal, including hemp. While the purported purpose was to eliminate the use of cannabis as a drug, some theorists posit that the real intent of the Act was to eliminate the competition hemp posed to paper and steel manufacturers by referring to cannabis as “marijuana” in media as a scare tactic in relation to its use as a drug. But, the U.S. needed strong hemp fiber during World War II and it was briefly re-legalized.  Since then, the U.S. has been importing hemp to use as fiber for the seats of BMW automobiles manufactured in Alabama, for example. Hemp powders and other goods have been imported for years, found mostly in health stores such as Whole Foods.  But now hemp CBD has become mainstream, sold in most national retail chains, even located in the “impulse buy” areas near cash registers.

However, there is a lot of confusion about hemp and the nuanced new law.  For example, state law enforcement often intervenes and is frequently unclear about the legality of the substance they may discover in a vehicle or a store shelf.  The Department of Public Safety (DPS) raided People’s Pharmacy for it in 2017, and other seizures and arrests have been made. The latest issue surrounds hemp leaves that can be smoked, and there have been many seizures from smoke shops on the allegation that the leaves are marijuana. They look and smell the same, and neither drug dogs nor the state crime lab can tell them apart.  It was disappointing that the USDA did not propose a uniform travel manifest or QR code requirement for law enforcement (and consumers) to readily identify whether a substance is hemp or marijuana. But, Texas and most states require a Certificate of Analysis (COA) demonstrating the THC concentration, the cannabinoid profile, the presence of pesticides, the presence of heavy metals, and any harmful pathogens.  This COA may be carried with the product (raw or finished) and located via a website or QR Code on a product’s label.  Raw hemp for distribution must be accompanied by a TDA transport manifest. 

A controversial topic is the smoking of hemp.  The original hemp act authored by Rep. Tracy King contained no overly zealous regulations or prohibitions—it was merely intended to promote the growth of hemp free from undue government interference.  However, in my work during the 2019 Legislative Session to help get the hemp bill passed, the overarching concern to every legislator I talked to was that the hemp bill was just a subterfuge for marijuana—something our State’s leadership is still staunchly opposed to.  Thus, the Senate version of the hemp bill was rewritten to involve the DPS, created crimes for certain activities, banned the manufacture of hemp for smoking, and made a definition for smoking. A promise was made on the Senate floor during the debate on this bill that hemp would not be smoked, to assuage the marijuana fears. Thus, the DSHS is now in a position of having to effectuate the intent of the hemp statute by creating a rule that effectively bans the smoking of hemp, which they have done in proposed rules published May 8, 2019, by prohibiting the manufacture, processing, distribution, and retail sale of smokable hemp.  Smokable hemp can still be bought online or purchased from other states, and we still do not know what the final rule will be or how strictly this rule will be enforced, so the best bet to solve this issue is to work to change this aspect of the law in the 2021 Legislative Session. 

From an agricultural, industrial, and medicinal standpoint, the hemp business—largely unbeleaguered by the crushing compliance and taxing obligations of marijuana businesses—is on an exponential rise in the United States and internationally.  A word of caution, the rise has been volatile.  But as a state that leads in agriculture, technology, refining, and medicine, Texas is poised to become the new leader in hemp production, whether for medicinal or industrial purposes.  This is an incredibly exciting time to participate in the change of major laws in the dawn of a new industry.

Lisa L. Pittman is Co-Chair of Cannabis Business Law Group at Coats Rose, P.C., & Member of Texas Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Advisory Council

Green Mountain Flower Co.

When committing to a lifestyle change, the quality of the product and service chosen is everything and exactly what Gene and Elsie Dietrich strive to provide to every client who passes through their door.

The couple own Green Mountain Flower Company – a premier CBD boutique located in North Austin off of 183 and Anderson Mill – and their mission is to curate a personalized experience to your journey into hemp-based healing. When you walk into the doors of their store you’re immediately greeted with tranquility and a welcoming smile. Their products which range from tinctures, edibles, balms, to even raw flower is thoughtfully displayed around the space and available for them to explain the benefits of the product setting you up on a plan with exactly what you need. And that is something that the couple takes time to provide to every customer, a knowledgeable non-judgmental consultation listening to your needs and goals and aligning you with the products that best suit you.

Not only have they made a commitment to their customers but to the industry overall. Following 30 years as a custom home and commercial builder he poured his retirement into growing with the licensed CBD industry as well as the research and development of their own Green Mountain line.

A tremendous amount of effort has gone into developing the Green Mountain Flower Company’s product line and the evidence shows in the resulting quality and many happy customers. Each product has a long story behind it, how each went from just an idea or concept to a finished product now regularly depended upon by many. The CBD Body Balm has such a story, developed from a concept with much trial and refinement to become the highly effective and demanded product it is today.

Customers can stand assured that they’re purchasing quality straight from the source and product ingredients that are carefully and personally chosen by the same people who are selling it. Quality is key with Green Mountain Flower products.

Their CBD Oils are a great example of these facts – the color says it all – it’s not too diluted, not too refined, not too hempy or over flavored. It stands a cut above the average product being sold in retail stores and sets a high standard for boutique blends to be understood and valued more in the mainstream spectrum of CBD. The complementary sample of their tincture proves right there in the store the time and effort put into creating the optimal recipe towards meeting what you’ re wanting to achieve with CBD, and their loyal grassroots grown customer base speaks for the rest.

The Dietrich family doesn’t plan to stop there. They will continue to expand the Green Mountain product line with many exciting additions on the way such as their new CBD Water which they have been working on for over a year. As well as actively expanding their wholesale market.

The skill, will, and desire of the Dietrichs’ dedication to the industry cannot be compared. All they have worked towards in setting the bar so high through their dedication to providing quality products and unprecedented service to new and established CBD users alike opens up a more welcoming educated market to introduce the benefits of it to the mainstream.

Change begins at a personal, local level and requires a real investment that is fueled by passion. Whether it’s helping someone learn what benefits of CBD can bring to their health and lifestyle, educating existing users on the quality of products they choose, or helping revolutionize the industry, Green Mountain Flower Company is a pivotal part of the transformation of truly holistic service.

Cannabis Quality Virtual Conference

Due to the coronavirus and the Illinois plan to reopen the economy, the face-to-face Cannabis Quality Conference & Expo is postponed until October of 2021. For 2020, we are launching the Cannabis Quality Virtual Conference Series in its place: every Tuesday, starting September 8 through November 10, we’ll host two presentations and two Tech Talks, followed by a panel discussion. The series will culminate with a post-election analysis to take place November 10, 2020.

This will still be an interactive, virtual experience, where attendees can ask questions and get in touch with speakers.

Plan to Attend
Registration for attendees is complimentary and is underwritten by our sponsors. We look forward to seeing everyone virtually there.

Call For Abstracts

The Conference Chairs and organizers are inviting the industry to submit abstracts to be considered for the conference program. Abstract submission is open until July 1, 2020.
Submit Your Abstract Today!

Here is a list of topic areas for presentations we are looking for:

  • Government Policy, Reform & Legalization Efforts
  • State Regulations, Licensing & Requirements
  • USDA Hemp Programs
  • Laboratory Testing
  • Quality & Safety in Manufacturing
  • Cultivation Best Practices
  • Marketing, Branding & Communications
  • Legal, Insurance & Data Analysis
  • Extraction & Infused Products Best Practices
  • Standards, Certifications & Accreditations
  • International Market Analysis

The Cannabis Quality Virtual Conference Series will have a different theme every Tuesday. Two subject matter experts and two sponsors will discuss one area of focus, which will be followed by a panel discussion where attendees can ask questions and interact with the speakers.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the topic areas we’ll be covering:

The New Cannabis Consumer:
Analyzing Retail Data and Market Trends

International Market Updates:
A Look at the new European Industry

Cannabinoid Discovery & Study:
Behind the Scenes of Scientific Research

Protecting Public Health:
Keeping Cannabis Products Safe

The New Hemp Industry:
Covering the Burgeoning Hemp Market

Cannabis Labs/Food Labs Conference June 2 – 5, 2020

Cannabis Labs/Food Labs Conference June 2 – 5, 2020

Now a Virtual Conference!  In light of the COVID-19’s social distancing protocols and our concern over attendees’ safety, Innovative Publishing Company has converted the originally scheduled 2 day conference, planned in Rockville, MD to a virtual event with the webcast taking place over four days, June 2-5, from 11am to 4pm EST each day. The new format still allows for Q&A between attendees and speakers.

Become a Sponsor!  If your company is a Laboratory technology or service provider and you need to fill your lost tradeshow pipeline, consider sponsoring this event. There are several levels of sponsorships available, starting at the price of a typical 10 foot booth. Each sponsorship includes a 15 minute “Tech Talk” presentation positioned between speakers. There are a limited amount Tech Talk positions still available. For more info, contact RJ Palermo at [email protected] or phone & text: +203.667.2212

OSH Solutions Webinar this Friday

The TXHIA for the next installment of their member-hosted educational webinar series on Friday, June 12 at 3pm EST / 12pm PST.

HIA® member Rich Galutia is a Certified Safety Professional with over 25 years of experience working with agribusinesses including feed mills, grain elevators and flour mills. Through his firm OSH Solutions LLC, he has helped clients build and maintain safety programs that improve workplace safety and enable business owners to be confident that they are OSHA inspection-ready. Rich is also currently First Vice-President for the Penn Ag Industries Association.

This interactive presentation will cover:
* A review of the scope of OSHA
* OSHA enforcement issues
* Key OSHA standards that apply to the hemp industry
* COVID-19 and it’s impact on safety in workplaces

There will be an opportunity for Q&A with Rich after the presentation.  The webinar will be capped at 100 participants, so register today to save your spot!

Texas Hemp Reporter

We are currently working on the inaugural edition of The Texas Hemp Reporter to hit the streets of Austin Texas this June. This full color magazine that will profile Hemp News in Texas.

May 2020 is here and Texan’s will now be able to grow hemp legally and reap the many financial benefits from this healthy economic change in Texas agricultural law. 

Many of you in this space know the health benefits and are already aware of the coming trends with the Hemp Industry in the U.S. This May edition will release in late April in time for the Austin Reggae Festival and all things 420. The Texas legislature as of May 1st has allowed our Texas Farmers to grow organic hemp for CBD, medicinal benefits, textiles and industry for the first time since the reefer madness Era. The Texas Hemp Reporter will cover the latest news, business development , medicinal breakthroughs, industry culture, and the economics of planet earths greatest healing flower. 

Click Image to see the available Ad Space and sneak preview of the June Edition.

We have been publishing Monthly Magazines in Austin TX our home town since 2002.