On behalf of our members, Texas Hemp Growers is releasing its Legislative Priorities. This letter serves as the foundation for the changes our association is requesting in the state’s current hemp rules.
Our priorities involve three areas:
1. Repeal smokable hemp ban language
Hemp and its derivatives are legal in all 50 states. Texas Hemp Growers remains committed to complete plant access. Any regulations that restrict the sale of any hemp derivative puts our state at a disadvantage. The smokable hemp ban, while being challenged in court, still creates a cloud of uncertainty for investment and stability. Our retail members stand to lose as much as 85% of their store revenue if this ban remains in place. Texas farmers would be forced to sell out-of-state to access the smokable hemp market. And the ban does nothing (and can’t do anything) to prevent flower from being sent directly to consumers from out-of-state.
2. Reduce the Facility modification fee
The $500 facility modification fee is one that has made us scratch our heads. Why is the cost to modify the boundary of your license five times as much as the license itself? There’s no apparent evidence of a $500 burden on state regulators to make an adjustment to a license. We’re concerned this fee is out-of-line with the other fees, and are requesting it be reduced to $100.
3. Transportation Manifests
Our primary concern with transportation manifests is the $75 fee leveed by the Texas Department of Agriculture. This fee is not permitted under the current state law. As a result, farmers bear a high expense to ship samples or orders. As we’ve previously noted, the current rules are enforced so that one manifest covers one shipment to one destination. If a farmer needed to send 10 samples to 10 retailers, they would need 10 manifests at a total of $750. This was never the intent of the law, and we’re asking the state to consider options that eliminate the fee.
Furthermore, we’re asking the state to consider dropping the manifest requirement altogether, once a hemp crop has been officially cleared by Texas Department of Agriculture. This would dramatically speed up logistics and reduce costs for both farmers and processors.
Hemp Cleanup Bill
Texas Hemp Growers is also in contact with state representatives working on hemp “cleanup” language. One bill filed by Rep. Tracy King is H.B. 3948.
While there are many great changes proposed, such as eliminating testing of seedlings, there are a couple of provisions that were concerning.
The first involved language in the Department of State Health Services regulations that would have expanded the definition of Total THC to include all isomers and variations. This would have effectively eliminated the Delta-8 and upcoming Delta-10 markets.
The second provision involved a mandate on how you could label products as “Made in Texas.” As the biggest proponent of Buying Texas Hemp (hence our slogan), this particular language was poorly executed and would have created undefined proofs on raw inputs for manufacturers.
However, we were informed today that both of these provisions have been dropped as part of a substitute bill Rep. King’s staff is finalizing.
Finally, Texas Hemp Growers supports adding an age restriction on smokable hemp products and Delta- products, so that they do not legally fall into the hands of minors.
A committee hearing is scheduled for Thursday morning at 8 a.m. with the Agriculture and Livestock Committee in the Texas House. The meeting will be in Room E2.010.
Texas Hemp Growers will be in attendance to speak on behalf of its members.