AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Sid Miller, announced Tuesday that he has sent the Texas Hemp Program outline to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for approval.
In October, the USDA announced the establishment of the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program creating a regulatory framework around hemp production in the United States. After the Texas Hemp Program passes the requirements of the USDA hemp framework, the Texas Department of Agriculture will be able to grant licenses for industrial hemp production.
“This is another step closer on the road to legalized industrial hemp in Texas,” said Miller. “I anticipate that the USDA will approve our plan quickly, but this does not mean it is legal to grow hemp yet. We still must finalize our state rules and get our licensing program up and running first.”
Miller has also announced a public hearing on hemp rules will be held in 2020.
Hemp comes from the same species of plant as marijuana, Cannabis sativa, but are genetically distinct — marijuana with high levels of psychotropic compounds and hemp with extremely low levels.
Because of hemp’s relationship to marijuana, it was classified as Schedule I controlled substance. The legalization of hemp is gaining popularity due to its available uses in the textile industry, paper, fabrics and other industrial goods.