On June 10, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed HB 1325 into law, capping off a year long, bipartisan effort to create a program for hemp cultivation and to legalize the sale of hemp-derived products, including CBD-infused foods, drinks and cosmetics.
And now that we’ve proved we have the writing chops to compose a stuffy, journalistic opening paragraph…CBD is legal! Full spectrum hemp oil is legal! (Now, were CBD and hemp oil products illegal before HB 1325? No, they were not illegal; but there were some lingering “legal gray areas.” What HB 1325 does is affirmatively legalize CBD products with the full force of the Texas legislature. Before, it was regulatory agencies changing policy. Now, it’s the voice of the people through their elected representatives.)
So grab the person next to you and kiss them! If that’s not appropriate, a firm handshake. If that’s not appropriate, a bro nod.
Full spectrum gummies? That’s legal.
CBD lotion? That’s legal.
CBD Jello in the form of a swordfish blasted out of a t-shirt cannon at a South Texas Regional amateur softball tournament? Lee Gawl. That’s legal.
With the passage of HB 1325, Texas joins the 42 other states that have established programs to create and regulate hemp farming according to guidelines laid out by the 2018 Farm Bill. Everything is bigger in Texas, hence the lengthy delay.
For farmers, it remains to be seen how long it will take for the Texas Department of Agriculture to write up a plan, and how promptly the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture will review and approve Texas’ plan. Potential farmers, curb your enthusiasm.
Retailers, consumers and manufacturers, on the other hand, get to open their presents early. HB 1325 is chock-full of legal protections for businesses that sell or manufacture CBD products, with equally stout protections for users of CBD products.
Broad Definitions Protect Businesses and Consumers
HB 1325 protects businesses and consumers by providing definitions of hemp and hemp-derived products that mutually-reinforce each other, creating a broad conception of what is legal. In other words, HB 1325 takes a position on the legality of every part of the production process, from the cannabinoids, to the extract, to the finished product.
For Retailers, Good News Comes Now
With HB 1325 passing into law, retailers will be looking for closure on a few issues:
Is CBD legal?
As long as a CBD product is sourced from hemp that is grown according to the rules and regulations set out by HB 1325, that product is legal to manufacture, sell and possess in the state of Texas.
HB 1325 removes hemp from the Texas Health and Safety Code list of controlled substances, making it legal to use cannabinoids in consumable products, e.g., foods, drinks, tinctures, gummies, topical lotions, etc. The bill supports
“Hemp-derived cannabinoids, including cannabidiol [CBD], are not considered controlled substances or adulterants.” [Id. § 443.204(1)]
For added peace of mind, we’d like to point out that an analysis of the bill published by the Texas House of Representatives falls in line with our interpretation: “Hemp derived cannabinoids would not be considered controlled substances, and such products intended for consumption would be considered foods.” 
What About Full Spectrum Hemp Oil and Trace Amounts of THC?
Because HB 1325 removes both “hemp” and the “tetrahydrocannabinols in hemp” from the Texas list of controlled substances, full spectrum products are legal, even if they do contain some THC.
As always, the product’s THC concentration cannot exceed 0.3%, as per the 2018 Farm Bill and HB 1325.
Seizures of CBD products, though rare, were justified on the grounds that field drug tests returned “positive” for THC. Law enforcement argued that possession of any product with THC was a violation of state law, no matter how trace the amount.
HB 1325 shuts down that line of argument by not only excluding hemp from the list of controlled substances, but the THC in hemp, as well. “[Controlled substance] does not include hemp…or the tetrahydrocannabinols in hemp.” [Id. Sec. 8 amending Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.002(5)]
To prevent “misinterpretations” (aka “oopsie, I don’t understand. I guess I’ll just start arresting people”), the bill makes sure to draw a distinction between “marihuana” and “hemp,” as well.
“‘Marihuana’…does not include…hemp, as that term is defined by Section 121.001, Agriculture Code.” [Id. § 481.002(26)]
Hemp is not a controlled substance. Hemp is not marijuana. That’s airtight.
Can I Sell CBD Products?
Yes, retailers can sell CBD products. And the definition of “consumable hemp products” is purposefully broad, which should eliminate the legal gray areas which have caused so much anxiety for Texas CBD retailers.
Sec. 443.204, titled “Rules Related to Sale of Consumable Hemp Products,” is clear:
“Products containing one or more hemp-derived cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol, intended for ingestion are considered foods, not controlled substances or adulterated products.” [Id. § 443.204(2)]
What Kinds of Hemp-Derived Products Are Legal?
Let’s let HB 1325 do the talking:
“‘Consumable hemp product’ means food, a drug, a device, or a cosmetic…that contains hemp or one or more hemp-derived cannabinoids, including cannabidiol.” [Id. § 431.002(1)]
What are lawmakers telling us? They’re telling retailers, manufacturers and law enforcement: “Hey, if we forgot to mention a class of hemp-derived product here, assume that that product is legal, too.”
Should I Be Worried About Local Law Enforcement?
No, you shouldn’t be worried. The language of HB 1325 is simple and direct: Cities and counties cannot introduce ordinances or regulations that interfere in the manufacturing or sale hemp-derived products. Prohibition-minded district attorneys simply won’t have the wiggle room to creatively interpret the bill to fit their agendas.
CBD users are protected, as well. For a detailed explanation, scroll down to “For CBD Users.”
“A municipality, county, or other political subdivision of this state may not enact, adopt, or enforce a rule, ordinance, order, resolution, or other regulation that prohibits the processing of hemp or the manufacturing or sale of a consumable hemp product as authorized by this chapter.” [Id. § 443.003]
As a Retailer, Do I Need to Register?
Yes, but not right away. To sell consumable hemp products, retailers will have to register each location with the Department of State Health Services. [Id. § 443.2025(b)]
That doesn’t mean that existing inventory is now illicit, and it doesn’t mean that retailers have to sprint to the phone to register. First, the state will announce that it is issuing registrations. From that point, retailers will have 60 days to register with Department of State Health Services.
We could have made that up, you know. You’re a scrupulous person. You don’t take people on their word alone. To us, that’s a high virtue. So, treat yourself. Maybe buy yourself a Frosty. That is, if the machine isn’t broken. One would think that a global chain like McDonald’s could afford to make a high-quality, easy to clean, easy to service, ice-cream machine. Take the ice cream and mix in Oreo and M&M’s. That simple. I just feel hurt over the whole thing.
Here’s the section concerning retailer registration:
“…a person is not required to register a location to sell a consumable hemp product containing cannabidiol at retail in this state before the 60th day after the date the Department of State Health Services begins issuing registrations.” [Id. § 12]
Can I Sell Vape Carts?
Sell in the Texas? Probably. Manufacture in the state of Texas? Definitely not.
Even early versions of HB 1325 prohibited the manufacture of CBD products for “smoking.” But in the case of the House and Senate versions of the bill, the definition of “smoking” was narrowly tailored to mean burning and inhaling smoke, presumably from raw hemp. No one wants to smoke hemp flower; so, for hemp advocates, the anti-smoking provision was an easy concession.
In a last minute addition, the definition of smoking was expanded to include:
“…heating a substance and inhaling the resulting vapor or aerosol.” [Id. § 443.001(11)]
Paired with this expanded definition is another clarifying provision, this time in a different section:
“A state agency may not authorize a person to manufacture a product containing hemp for smoking…” [Id. §122.301(b)]
The additions come together to say something like, “It is prohibited to manufacture hemp products for the purpose of smoking or vaporizing.”
The key word is “manufacture.” HB 1325 makes no reference to the “sale” of smokable or vapable hemp products. At Green Lotus™, we intend to continue selling vape carts, and we’ll be providing updates on the law as they come.
What HB 1325 Means for CBD Consumers
CBD users may be still be asking themselves: Can I possess CBD products without breaking the law?
Yes, you can legally possess, purchase and consume CBD products:
“A person may possess, transport, sell, or purchase a consumable hemp product processed or manufactured in compliance with this chapter.” [Id. § 443.201(a)]
What does it mean to be “in compliance with this chapter?” The base oil must be:
- Produced in compliance with the 2018 Farm Bill
- Tested by accredited laboratory
- Found to have a THC concentration of no more than 0.3%
HB 1325 does not say anything to the effect of, “You can only possess hemp products made in Texas.” However, the same chapter lays out packaging and labeling requirements that may conflict with the requirements made by other state programs.
To keep it legal, buy from licensed retailers who sell Farm bill-compliant products, and aim for brands with packaging that matches requirements outlined in HB 1325:
- A URL or QR code that leads to a certificate of analysis (to show the THC concentration is less than 0.3%)
- Name of product’s manufacturer
- Batch identification number and batch date
Green Lotus™ is ahead of the game. Our new packaging includes both a scannable QR code and a direct URL. Both lead to a search bar where you can type in your product’s “Lot code” to see a Certificate of Analysis [COA], complete with third-party lab results for potency and purity. (“Lot code” is synonymous with “Batch Identification Number.”)
Will you be hauled to jail because a retail or manufacturer made a packaging mistake? No, you won’t. Law enforcement will be searching for CBD products that clearly violate state law, such as products produced or manufactured by a medical marijuana program in another state.
So, if you’re not sure where a tincture or vape cart comes from, or if you know that the product is sourced from non-Farm Bill compliant hemp, be mindful about how you travel with that product.
Otherwise, you’re good!
The Future of CBD Products in Texas
Critics of HB 1325 argue that law enforcement will have trouble discerning the difference between CBD products and marijuana, overburdening the DPS crime lab with endless “Is it hemp-derived or is it marijuana?” tests. 
It’s easy to imagine a scenario where differentiating between hemp-derived products and marijuana becomes prohibitively expensive and time-consuming, to the point that police are unable to adequately enforce existing drug laws.
Would less enforcement be a tragedy? Not particularly. As hemp advocates and as cannabis advocates, we would find it hard to shed a tear over the death of antiquated anti-drug policies.
What we want to avoid is a “dragnet” response from local police: seize any product that might be illegal and wait for the tests.
Labeling and Certification Requirements Help With Confusion
Fortunately, labeling and certification requirements will make it easy for law enforcement to spot the difference between shipments of hemp and shipments of marijuana. If police feel they can properly enforce the law, they will be far less inclined to respond to HB 1325 in the wrong way.
We expect the vast majority of law enforcement to maintain the careful balance between what HB 1325 allows and what anti-marijuana laws (unfortunately) demand.
In its complete form, HB 1325 is far from a blank check for anyone and their dog to grow hemp. It establishes procedures for testing hemp and hemp-derived products that are strict in comparison with the procedures of other states, and it requires that all Texas manufacturers adopt the quality standards Green Lotus™ Hemp has been practicing for years.
For many manufacturers of CBD and full spectrum hemp oil products, the transition will be challenging. We know, because we’ve already gone through it ourselves.
Ultimately, HB 1325 is about access to products that support the health of individuals and communities in Texas. We’re here to provide alternative paths to wellness, and we’re glad that legislators and Gov. Abbott have acknowledged the importance of CBD and hemp oil products in the lives of Texans.
To the state of Texas: Welcome to the party. Now, let’s get started!
When Will HB 1325 Take Full Effect?
With the governor’s signature, HB 1325 should take effect immediately. But here at Green Lotus™ Hemp, we’ve been burned too many times, so to speak. The last thing we want to do is misinform our friends and partners, so here are the hard dates:
1. The state plan must be submitted to the USDA no later than 90 days from the effective date of HB 1325. [Id. § 9(a)] At the latest, sometime in early Sept. 2019.
2. No later than 30 days after the state plan is approved, the Dept. of Agriculture “shall begin implementing the state plan…” [Id. § 10]
3. The state of Texas will “fully implement” the state plan “as soon as practicable after the state plan is approved.” [Id. § 10]
4. Yes, the math is spooky. Keep in mind that the head shrinking timelines are reserved for cultivators. CBD and hemp oil can continue to possess, sell and transport their existing products. The state of Texas will be providing guidance on the registration process, too. This will be slow. For retailers, that means time adjust to the new law.