A newly introduced bill by Democratic State Senator Judith Zaffirini could criminalize the sale and distribution of hemp-derived candy in Texas. The South Texas senator, whose district includes Laredo, submitted Senate Bill 1856 in early March.
If enacted, the bill would amend the state’s consumable hemp law to forbid and penalize the sale and distribution of specific flavored consumable hemp products. The legislation would establish a second-degree felony for individuals who “knowingly distribute, sell, or possess with intent to distribute or sell” hemp products which are “marketed or packaged to appear similar to a candy.”
The bill’s language suggests a complete ban on hemp-derived candy, prompting Texas Hemp Growers to seek clarification from Senator Zaffirini’s office. No response has been received, yet.
Texas Hemp Growers President Zachary Maxwell expressed concern over the potential impact of the bill, stating, “This would shut down probably every manufacturer, processor, farmer, and retailer in Texas. Democrats are usually a pro-cannabis political party, so it’s quite bizarre this is coming from a democrat’s office.”
The motivation behind the bill remains unclear. It has been speculated that special interests, such as licensees of the Texas Compassionate Use program, may be pushing for the legislation to eliminate competition.
Senate Bill 1856 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Water, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs, but a hearing has not yet been scheduled. The committee is chaired by Sen. Charles Perry, a Republican from West Texas who introduced a separate bill that would ban many hemp-derived THCs, like delta-8.
Texas Hemp Growers previously reported on the drastically low number of growers that are actually cultivating in Texas. Texas Hemp Growers stands firmly against more red-tape and reckless bans and is calling on state representatives to support, not suppress, the industry.
Readers who oppose this bill should take time on during a weekday to contact Sen. Zaffirini’s office and express your concerns about S.B. 1856. Her office can be reached at (512) 463-0121. Ask for Courtney Fontaine, who is the staffer responsible for managing this bill.
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