Growing The Green

While hemp was legal to produce in Texas until 1937, the crop has yet to be grown by modern day Texas farmers. The state came one step closer on Jan. 27 when the United States Department of Agriculture approved Texas’ plan for monitoring hemp production. 

Texas farmers are one step closer to growing hemp after the United States Department of Agriculture approved the Texas Hemp Plan on Jan. 27.

The Texas Department of Agriculture’s plan details how the state will maintain land information, conduct inspections and test hemp’s tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound in marijuana that gives psychoactive effects, among other procedures.

“Although USDA has approved the state plan, that doesn’t mean interested growers can start planting just yet,” said Brant Wilbourn, Texas Farm Bureau associate director of Commodity and Regulatory Activities.

“The licensing program must still be established and the administrative rules still need to be approved too.”

The permit application process for hemp production is estimated to begin later this year.

Legally, THC levels in hemp must be lower than 0.3 percent. Cannabidiol (CBD), a lipid derived from hemp, can be legally bought across the U.S. Commercial hemp production is legal in 41 states as of February, 2019.

There is interest in hemp production in this county, every county in this state and every state in the country, Wharton County Ag Extension Agent Corrie Bowen said.

CBD has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for two types of epilepsy.

CBD’s effects on other conditions, such as anxiety, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia are still being studied, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Hemp was grown legally in Texas until 1937, when it became taboo along with marijuana due to the Marijuana Tax Act.

Comments on the Texas hemp administrative rules can be submitted through Feb. 10.

Or, comments can be sent by mail to Philip Wright, Administrator for Agriculture and Consumer Protection at the Texas Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 12847, Austin, Texas 78711.

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