Texas Senate To Hold Public Hearing on Delta-8, Delta-9 THC Products

Legal hemp store owners in Texas may soon face significant operational changes. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has called on the Senate to review and consider banning delta-8 and delta-9 THC hemp products.

In April, Patrick directed the Texas Senate to revisit the 2019 decision that legalized hemp products containing delta-8 and delta-9 THC. On May 29, the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing to gather comments on a potential ban on these products. The committee aims to “examine the sale of intoxicating hemp products in Texas, recommend further regulations, and suggest legislation to prevent retailers from marketing these products to children.”

While Texas has legalized medical cannabis for qualifying patients, adult-use cannabis remains illegal. Consumable hemp was legalized nationwide with the 2018 Farm Bill, and Texas legislators approved House Bill 1325 in June 2019 to legalize the sale of consumable hemp products.

By 2020, the Texas Department of State Health Services had registered approximately 1,948 retail stores to sell hemp-based products. This number grew to 8,343 registered stores by 2023, and as of April 2024, there are over 7,700 registered stores.

Currently, there is no cap on the number of hemp dispensaries operating in the state. In April 2023, the House passed House Bill 1805, which would have established such limits, but the Senate did not vote on it.

The House has not yet scheduled a similar discussion or public hearing on banning delta-8 and delta-9 hemp products, but this could change when legislators reconvene in January 2025.

The potential ban has raised concerns among hemp business owners. Shayda Torabi, who runs the Restart hemp dispensary in Austin with her sisters, and serves as president of the Texas Hemp Coalition, expressed her views. “We’re now seeing the hemp conversation not just in Texas, but nationally, show the pathway for how we can access this plant and really help consumers seeking relief with cannabis products,” said Torabi. “We’re watching and waiting to see what happens next.”

Torabi’s dispensary offers hemp products made from CBD and low-THC compounds, as well as delta-8 and delta-9 in various forms such as gummies, edibles, oils, and flower. She welcomes new regulations that would legitimize her business further. “It is the wild, wild West out there,” Torabi told the Texas Tribune. “The lack of regulation is really the crux of the conversation. Illegal products only hurt our business.”

Torabi stands by her products, noting they have helped many customers with conditions like inflammation, depression, and insomnia. “We share the same concerns as Patrick, which is why we try to self-regulate as much as possible,” said Torabi. “We see where there can be malintent or twisting of the intent. It’s a challenging place to be because we empathize with the state’s concerns, but the transformative conversations we have daily shouldn’t be overlooked.”

To Lt. Gov. Patrick, Torabi advocates for regulation rather than an outright ban. “We’re simply asking Dan Patrick not to eliminate the market but to further regulate and lean on organizations like ours,” said Torabi.

To ensure compliance, Torabi’s dispensary sells only Texas-produced products and restricts delta-8 and delta-9 sales to those over 21, while CBD products are sold to those over 18.

Nico Richardson, CEO of Texas Original, a medical cannabis provider, also weighed in. His business adheres to strict regulations, unlike hemp dispensaries. Richardson described the challenges his business faces, such as needing a driver to return uncollected medicine to a storage location, while hemp dispensaries operate with fewer restrictions. “Am I upset about that? Yes. I think it’s absolutely horrendous,” said Richardson.

Texas Original is one of three approved medical cannabis dispensaries in the state and the only one that owns and operates its dispensaries. When asked about the potential shutdown of the hemp industry, Richardson supported more regulations. “It was never the intent here in Texas, and it certainly wasn’t the intent of the 2018 federal Farm Bill, to create a massive industry of intoxicating hemp derivatives. It’s marijuana by another name,” said Richardson. “That’s certainly not how the system was supposed to run.”


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