Texas legalized hemp and its non-psychoactive derivative CBD. Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1325 on June 11, which allows for the farming, transportation and sale of hemp products, effective immediately.
The move by the second-largest state in the U.S. is an important step following hemp’s federal legalization under the farm bill in 2018. It opens the door for a lucrative industry to move outside the grey market, while offering a new legal cash crop for Texas farmers.
On the transport side, HB1325 appears to address some of the pitfalls about hauling hemp. The Department of Public Safety is being tasked to develop a shipping certificate or cargo manifest related to hemp transport. They will be issued to license holders and contain unique identifying numbers for each shipment to facilitate roadside inspections.
Furthermore the law states: “It is the policy of this state not to interfere with the interstate commerce of hemp or transshipment of hemp through the state.” Forthcoming rules will be developed to insure that legal marijuana is not disguised in hemp shipments.
Did you know?
About 500 million tons of cargo gets shipped on the Mississippi River each year. However, recent flooding has stalled hundreds of barges. Many of them contain grain headed to the Gulf Coast for exports.
“After a lackluster May, June is shaping up to be a pivotal month for trucking.”
– Mark Montague, DAT Senior Industry Analyst, on the decline in spot volumes and pricing.
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Texas should be applauded for legalizing hemp and CBD, and attempting to create a regulatory framework for transportation. What happens in practice is another question. The prospect raised by HB1325 of marijuana being disguised in hemp shipments has an air of fear-mongering – particularly since the legislation itself uses the antiquated spelling marihuana. It seems unlikely that Texas will be able to build a thriving hemp industry if all shipments get viewed as potential contraband.
Hammer down everyone!