AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Forget “hump day” (the affectionate nickname for Wednesday, the middle of the week), this is “hemp day,” according to State Sen. Charles Perry.
The Texas Senate unanimously approved a bill to allow Texas farmers to grow and process hemp in the state in a 31-0 vote.
In addition to loosening restrictions for hemp farming, House Bill 1325, by State Rep. Tracy King, D-Batesville, legalizes hemp-derived products like CBD oil. The debate over whether hemp and marijuana are the same thing have kept such bills from passing previously. Unlike marijuana, hemp and its by-products contain less than .3 percent of THC, which produces the “high” in marijuana. Marijuana would still be illegal under this legislation.
Perry, R-Lubbock, sponsored the legislation in the upper chamber.
“The hemp industry is rapidly growing and we need to ensure our farmers are able to participate. We hope this agricultural commodity will help boost rural communities now that there is a new viable crop option for our farmers,” Perry said in a Wednesday statement.
The bill passed the House 144-0 on April 24, and after minor adjustments in the Senate, will head back over to the House for final approval on those changes. If the House does not concur, each chamber will appoint negotiators to iron out the differences. It then heads to the Governor’s desk for a signature.
The 2018 federal Farm Bill opened the door for states to act on this.
“Many hemp products are already sold in grocery stores, however, Texas farmers are unable to profit off of this crop,” Perry stated. “This will put our farmers on a level playing field with the rest of the country.”
Michael Rogers contributed to this report.