For Immediate Release:
The Texas Hemp Federation (THF) today received word that Texas Hemp Growers (THG,) an industry advocacy group, is circulating misinformation about the legality of hemp-derived cannabinoids in Texas. In an email obtained by several of our members, the organization claims that the group “has concluded that (hemp-derived isomers) are illegal in Texas and can result in a felony charge for possession of a controlled substance,” then advises the members to sell off their existing stock of the products they claim are illegal. In response, THF issues the following clarifying statement for consumers and industry stakeholders:
Andrea Steel with Frost Brown Todd LLC, an attorney representing Hometown Hero (THF’s board president) has this to say, “There are certain procedures required to modify the Schedule of Controlled Substances in Texas, and whether such procedures were properly followed remains questionable. Further, modifications to the State’s Schedule of Controlled Substances are required to be published annually in the Texas Register before going into effect. Here, for the first time ever, the State buried a picture of the Schedule in a publication (as opposed to text), making it virtually impossible to find intentionally. Hemp and THCs in hemp have explicitly been carved out of the definition of “controlled substance” under the Texas Controlled Substances Act. Conflicting language that does not reconcile with this explicit exception is confusing to consumers, businesses, and law enforcement, and raises serious issues of constitutionality. In 2018, the federal Farm Bill defined hemp and removed it from being a controlled substance, along THCs in hemp – a move that Texas mirrored shortly thereafter. Last year, the DEA modified its laws to merely come in line with the 2018 Farm Bill’s de-scheduling. DSHS then used the DEA IFR’s administrative reconciliation to trigger modifications to the State’s definitions of “tetrahydrocannabinol” and “marihuana extract” on its Schedule, a move that does not appear to have been carried out in an authorized manner. Consumers and businesses should certainly be aware of the conflicts and risks involved with these products, but a blanket statement as to their clear illegality is simply not accurate, and for state and local law enforcement to go after unknowing individuals and companies would be a gross miscarriage of justice.”
Jay Maguire, executive director of THF said, “the Hemp Growers’ email has a lot of consumers and industry folks confused and unduly concerned. Here are the facts: while there are those certain legislators who want Texas to adopt a prohibitionist stance on cannabinoids, in 2021 the Texas Legislature chose not to act on Delta 8 or any other cannabinoid isomers because there was no consensus to criminalize these beneficial products. It’s also true the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is on record with their bureaucratic viewpoint, which exhibits the same kind of government overreach that landed them on the losing end of one hemp-related court case already. We have not seen any indication that prosecutors are relying on DSHS to invent new felonies to prosecute. We’re not privy to the circumstances of the one arrest the email cited, but if customers or retailers were being arrested en masse, we’d know about it. They aren’t, because as our attorneys say, our products aren’t illegal.”
Lukas Gilkey with Hometown Hero states, "I begin to question motive and intentions when the Texas Hemp Growers organization is selling Delta-8 products which they now claim are illegal on their own website. If you click on the 'Buy Texas Hemp' link on his Texas Hemp Growers homepage or on his About page, they both link directly to the website selling Delta-8 and Hemp products. It also notes that they approved 'every product' and receive samples of all of them. All this while claiming Delta-8 is illegal in Texas makes it pretty obvious they are confused about their claims regarding the legality of Delta-8."
Jay Maguire states “My personal advice to any retailer, distributor or manufacturer of hemp-derived cannabinoid products concerned about the statement: just reach out to your own attorneys for legal advice about your own businesses. That’s just simple common sense.”
“Our take on what the laws and policies of our state should be: what Texans need are reasonable and appropriate regulations so businesses can continue to thrive, create jobs, and produce tax revenue while restricting access to these products to adults and requiring them to comply with strict testing and labeling guidelines so consumers know what they are getting. Texans do not want overzealous prohibitionist policies or over-reaching agencies creating new laws. The Texas Hemp Federation advocates for laws that ensure hemp-derived products are safe and legal.”
Contact: Jay Maguire, THF Executive Director