Coming off of an exciting Texas Hemp Summit, I can’t help but be a voice of reason in the room. It was awesome to see so much support and interest in the burgeoning hemp industry here in the lone star state. We got to hear from Texas AG Commissioner Sid Miller and had leaders in hemp fly in from across the United States to weigh in on the future of hemp, and really cannabis, in Texas.
As a CBD retail operator since 2018 myself, I am no stranger to the ever-moving landscape here. From newly discovered cannabinoids hitting the market like CBC and THCV, to the emerging market of chemically derived cannabinoids like hemp-derived delta 9 THC. We’ve faced lawsuits as a state, most recently losing the manufacturing and processing of smokable hemp products in Texas. And we’ve seen the state slowly introduce a medical marijuana program, which to me, is the domino that needs to fall before we see any type of adult use market here in Texas.
Which is exactly where I want to dive in. If Texas legalized adult-use cannabis tomorrow, who would get a license? How many licenses would they issue? What would a license cost? And if full plant access was granted, what would that do to the thousands of CBD retailers operating in Texas alone?
These are questions not meant to intimidate you, but rather to prepare you.
I spend a lot of time studying this market, as I mentioned I have skin in the game and want to ensure I’m doing my due diligence to take the best next step forward. But I also, through my podcast To Be Blunt, have ongoing conversations with industry leaders across the United States and even globally, deciphering their failures and successes in hopes of gathering enough intel to speculate what and when Texas might make her move.
I think a good indication is to look at where medical marijuana is currently at in Texas. For those who may be unaware, there are three licenses in circulation under the Texas Compassionate Use Program (TCUP), with only two in operation. The application to even apply for a dispensing organization license is $7,356 and the license fee is $488,520 for a two-year period. That is just to get your license to operate, not counting all the operational costs, etc. On top of that, the TCUP license requires vertical integration meaning you have to grow, extract, process, manufacture, distribute, and sell.
So I ask you, who has the funds and assets to qualify for a TCUP license? And out of the thousands of operators currently selling CBD and hemp-derived cannabinoid products, who is going to qualify for one of the limited available licenses under the current program and rules?
Look, I am hopeful like the rest of you, but I also live in reality, and to ignore these facts is to willingly walk into a wall.
I recently saw the Texas DPS announce they were considering opening up TCUP licenses, which would be a step in the direction towards adult use recreation because I believe we need a more advanced Medical Marijuana/ TCUP program before you see adult use/ recreation legalized in Texas.
TCUP is currently limited to a 1% THC cap, and the broadest qualifying condition is PTSD as expanded during the 87th Texas Legislative session. Our 88th legislative session kicks off in January 2022 and I anticipate whatever movement we get will be an indication of how much that program will advance, leading us to infer the progression of the legalization of cannabis in the state.
On top of all of this, hemp is currently capped at .3% Delta 9 THC on a dry weight basis, the language of “dry weight basis” has made a massive loophole not just for Texas hemp brands but really nationally we’re now seeing a wave of hemp derived delta 9 THC hit the market.
So from my perspective, on one hand, we already have legalization of THC in Texas to some extent, and on the other hand, how in the hell does this all get regulated, and who will it affect?
Some speculate Delta 8 and hemp-derived Delta 9 will be taken away, others argue how can they “put the cat back in the bag” so to speak. And personally, I’m not really sure what this legislative session will hold, but I can tell you I’m gonna roll up my sleeves and advocate and influence policy however I can.
But don’t say I didn’t warn you!
New episodes of To Be Blunt air every Monday at tobebluntpod.com
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