On Tuesday, the Texas House of Representatives passed H.B. 2818, which will clean up language in the state’s hemp agriculture laws and bring them in-line with USDA standards.
With 126 “yeas” and 17 “nays”, the bill quickly coasted through the House. It was amended twice, first to correct some numbering errors and then to improve language so that Texas Agriculture’s regulations are consistent with federal law.
As we previously reported, H.B. 2818 and its companion bill, Senate Bill 321, are expected to pass both Chambers with minimal resistance. Texas is already four years behind in its ability to update its regulations to new USDA standards. H.B. 2818 is effectively a replica of the bill that the industry brought forward in 2021, but had failed because of the delta-8 issue.
Texas Hemp Growers supports H.B. 2818 and expects it to pass. However, in the event that Senate Bill 264–which is the bill that contains the broad ban on hemp THCs–fails to make it out of committee, we will be watching H.B. 2818 closely to ensure Sen. Perry doesn’t try the same stunt he pulled in 2021, by trying to stick his THC ban onto any and every bill concerning hemp or cannabis.
Senate Bill 264, which would ban synthetic THCs, like delta-8, and even THC adulteration over 0.3% (i.e. THCa), has yet to be scheduled for a hearing. There is a chance, albeit small, that this bill doesn’t make it to committee.
According to Perry’s office, they are “working hard to get a substitute to a position where (they) can have a hearing.”
Although not a guarantee, this could indicate that they are meeting resistance from other senate offices, particularly those who sit on the agriculture committee with Perry. If enough of those members are threatening to withhold their support, it could force Perry to change direction, or give up altogether.
Last week, Perry’s office said they “don’t have any sub language” yet, and that they are working with multiple offices to come up with it.
It would be premature to say this bill is dead.
In fact, just last week, the Texas Hemp Coalition–a group which claims to lobby for the industry–came out in SUPPORT of S.B. 264. Since there is no substitute language from what has been introduced, it’s not clear why they have changed their tune.
Edit: Since publishing this report, the director of the Texas Hemp Coalition has clarified that the Texas Hemp Reporter article where they endorsed S.B. 264 is actually incorrect, and that the post the Coalition put on their Facebook page on April 20 promoting the same article (seen below) was actually done in error by an intern. Although they haven’t corrected the record publicly and instead just deleted the old post, I’m told privately that the Coalition actually doesn’t support S.B. 264.
With its current language, Texas Hemp Growers opposes S.B. 264. We will soon release a formal statement directed at senators and house representatives conveying our opposition and the negative economic impact it will have on the industry.
Stay alert! The end of the session is closing in, but there is plenty of time for bills to work their way through committees and floor votes. Texas Hemp Growers is watching closely and will keep you posted as new information becomes available.