CBD Oil in Texas: 2021 Legal Status Guide
Just a couple of years ago, the CBD business in Texas was moving at a snail’s pace. No one wanted to touch CBD, buy it, sell it, or even talk about it. Yet, today, CBD oil in Texas is as real, and as legal, as ever.
In fact, people are eager to learn more and CBD stores are popping up all over the state. CBD is becoming increasingly popular and CBD coffees, smoothies, and massages are a new normal for Texans.
However, seeing how state laws and regulations regarding the subject are overly complicated, many Texans are left confused, to say the least. So, to cut to the chase, is CBD oil legal in Texas ? In a nutshell, yes. But, there are still some factors that can make your whole buying experience difficult.
We researched and studied the law and policies, and here’s everything you need to know about Texas laws and CBD oil.
Keep on reading to discover more about the topic!
CBD Texas Law: Marijuana, Hemp, CBD — Are They the Same?
First things first, we need to make a few distinctions. Lawmakers talk about marijuana, hemp, CBD, at the same time, thus people put them all in the same basket, adding to the overall chaos. In further text, we’ll try to explain “in plain English” what all these terms entail, and which ones are legal and illegal.
Now, both marijuana and hemp look and smell the same and come from the same plant family, so we can understand where all the confusion comes from. Yet, they’re not the same.
Essentially, they differ in THC levels (tetrahydrocannabinol — the substance responsible for making you “high”). According to CBD laws in Texas , marijuana has more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis, whereas hemp has less than 0.3% THC. Therefore, marijuana use and possession in Texas is illegal , unlike hemp’s.
So, what is CBD then? CBD, or cannabidiol, is but one of about a hundred natural components found in a hemp plant. It can be extracted from the plant in the form of CBD oil, which can then be infused into other products — namely, food and drinks — or taken as is. Hence, when it comes to CBD oil, Texas regulations define it as legal… sort of (please bear with us).
The oil is packed with nutrients, as well as other amino and omega acids that bring you tons of health benefits . However, you should note that the FDA doesn’t approve, regulate, or control CBD products. The only CBD oil that the FDA approves of is Epidiolex — a drug used to control severe epilepsy seizures in children.
The Timeline of Texas CBD Laws
Before we come to the burning question of whether CBD oil is, in fact, legal in Texas, you should know one more thing: Texas has always had a complicated relationship with cannabis. Here’s a simplified timeline of the turbulent history of the Texas cannabis law , so you could better understand what’s happening today.
1915: The El Paso Ban — the first US city to ban cannabis.
1919: Restricted Sale — the possession of cannabis remained legal, but non-medicinal use was labeled a misdemeanor.
1931: Statewide Ban — cannabis possession was banned for the whole state of Texas.
1973: HB 447 — the new CBD oil Texas law classified the possession of up to 2oz of cannabis as a class B misdemeanor (there was a $1,000 fine along with three months of jail time) instead of it being considered a felony like only a couple of years prior.
2007: HB 2391 — instead of an immediate arrest, the possession of up to 4oz of cannabis meant the police could “cite and release”; the same penalties still applied though.
2015: HB 339 — the Texas Compassionate Use Act enabled the use of THC oil for specific epilepsy patients; only low THC oil was allowed (less than 0.5% THC). Other than that, CBD oil remained illegal in Texas .
2019: HB 1325 — industrial hemp with less than 0.3% THC was finally approved for cultivation. Also, both the sale and the possession of hemp-derived CBD products were declared legal.
2019: HB 3703 — the new Texas CBD laws of 2019 also expanded the list of conditions that qualify for the state’s medical cannabis program. The list included conditions such as:
- Multiple sclerosis MS
- Huntington’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
You should note that medical patients can only use low-THC CBD products, such as vape oils and inhalers, that have up to 0.5% THC.
2020: the state adjusts its laws and includes licensing and testing on the agricultural end (in line with the FDA’s guidelines), and is now handled by the state’s DSHS.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Texas?
Yes! CBD oil for regular use is finally legal in Texas. However, there are two major factors that influence its legality: the source of CBD and the concentration of THC.
CBD oil is completely legal if it’s derived from hemp that has less than 0.3% THC. This concentration of THC isn’t high enough to cause any psychoactive effects.
CBD oil laws in Texas also allow medicinal use of cannabis oil, as well, as long as it has less than 0.5% THC. Please note that this is only legal for medical patients that qualify for the state’s medicinal cannabis program.
House Bill 3703 has determined that qualifying illnesses are the following:
- Seizure disorders
- Multiple sclerosis
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Terminal cancer
- Incurable neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s)
CBD oil derived from marijuana has a much higher THC concentration and is therefore illegal for recreational purposes.
CBD Oil in Texas: Possible Law Issues
As good as this new law may sound, its implementation was a bit rocky. CBD users in Texas are still at risk of being detained while their CBD products are examined for their THC concentration. This is mainly due to the field tests that the Texas police uses that are unable to distinguish CBD oil from marijuana.
Just recently, a man spent a month in Amarillo jail for transporting industrial hemp, until the lab results showed that it was, in fact, all legal.
To avoid a CBD oil arrest in Texas , you should always thoroughly research the brand you want to buy CBD products from. Always shop with brands that have public third-party tests proving their oil has less than 0.3% THC and verify the source of the hemp.
Can You Buy CBD Oil in Texas
You can buy CBD oil, but as previously mentioned, you need to be extra careful when choosing a brand. The CBD market is swamped with thousands of brands, all claiming to have the most superb products out there.
To make sure that you’re buying a safe product pay attention to the following:
- Hemp source: hemp sourced from the US is usually the safest, mainly due to the strict agricultural restrictions. Kentucky and Colorado, for example, have the best hemp farms, which grow the plant in the purest way possible. More often than not, their hemp complies with strict CBD Texas laws .
- Extraction process: there are a couple of extraction processes available, yet the CO2 method is the cleanest one out there and produces CBD oil of the highest quality.
- Third-party testing: it’s essential that a CBD company tests all their products in an independent lab. This ensures that the lab results are objective and accurate. Lab sheets should show you the exact purity and potency of your CBD oil.
Where to Buy CBD Oil in Texas
If you need CBD oil to relieve everyday stress and anxiety, for aches and pains, or you just want to improve your overall well-being and wellness, you can look for CBD products in various dispensaries and stores. Texas is bursting with CBD dispensaries, with new ones popping up every day. The majority of them are in larger cities like Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Fort Worth, and El Paso.
However, if you need CBD for a far more serious medical issue, you should consult your physician and apply for a medical marijuana card to avoid breaking the laws of CBD oil in Texas .
You can also browse the internet and order your CBD products online.
Can CBD Oil Be Shipped to Texas
Buying CBD products online and having them shipped to your home from another state is perfectly legal if the products are derived from hemp and contain less than 0.3% THC.
Ordering CBD online sometimes has more benefits than buying it in a brick-and-mortar store. Stores may carry only a few brands, whereas online stores offer an abundance of products that are only a few clicks away.
Can I Grow CBD in Texas
House Bill 1325 from 2019 allows the manufacture, production, inspection, and retail sale of industrial hemp in Texas. The production of CBD oil was also allowed by the law.
Still, growing hemp in Texas is not legal until the TDA (Texas Department of Agriculture) submits a state hemp plan to the USDA, which needs to approve it first. Even before sending the state plan to the USDA, the TDA needs to wait for guidance on implementing the procedures that came into effect on October 29, 2019. The application process should begin sometime in 2020, as estimated by the TDA.
The Bottom Line
These are historical moments for Texans and the CBD industry. The market for CBD oil in Texas is growing at a rapid rate since the implementation of the new law, and there’s a great number of CBD companies that offer thousands of high-quality products. We hope that this guide has helped you understand the law a bit better so you can fully enjoy the benefits of CBD.
Are you looking for hemp or CBD oil in Texas, but don't know whether it's legal or how to obtain it? In that case, this article is for you! Read on!
CBD products are everywhere in Texas since the state legalized hemp. Experts warn: buyer beware.
Much of the sudden spike in popularity is thanks to a Texas law last year that legalized hemp, the plant from which CBD is derived.
by Naomi Andu Jan. 23, 2020 12 AM Central
In 2017, business was slow for Sarah Kerver. She was a sales rep for a Colorado-based company trying to push hemp and CBD products in Texas. But customers were apprehensive.
“No one wanted to touch [CBD]. No one wanted to talk about it. No one was interested in carrying this product in any sort of spa or retail space,” Kerver said.
Today, the market for CBD, or cannabidiol, is exploding. Stores are popping up across the state selling tinctures and topicals. It’s being mixed into smoothies and coffee at cafes. Spas are advertising CBD massages and therapies. And much of the sudden spike in popularity is thanks to a Texas law last year that legalized hemp, the plant from which CBD is derived.
“You go anywhere now, and you find something that says ‘CBD’ on it,” said Kerver, who’s now in talks with Austin distributors interested in carrying her CBD product line, called 1937 Apothecary.
But buyer beware, experts warn. Anyone can sell CBD in Texas. Many of the products are advertised as natural alternatives to prescription medications and make unfounded claims to treat conditions like chronic pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, diabetes and psychosis. None of these claims are recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
And because of lax labeling and licensing regulations, unsuspecting consumers may not actually know what they’re buying.
“Unless you really know that it’s something reputable, I would say to be wary because you don’t really know that it is even CBD,” Kerver said.
In 2018, the federal government passed a new Farm Bill legalizing hemp and derivatives, like CBD, with less than 0.3% of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. Hemp and marijuana are both part of the cannabis plant family, but while marijuana is rich in THC and produces a high, hemp contains only traces of the psychoactive compounds and is richer in CBD.
In June, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill legalizing hemp and bringing state policy in line with federal law.
Confusion on the part of law enforcement has led to the wrongful arrests of some in possession of CBD or hemp even after the Texas law went into effect. Still, the policy change is an important step on the way to allowing Texans to partake without fear of reprisal, according to Lisa Pittman, a lawyer on the Texas Department of Agriculture’s industrial hemp advisory council.
Because Kerver launched her line before the Texas bill, she’s seen firsthand how changes in the law have led to evolving attitudes in Texas about the products. Previously, she was able to sell Colorado CBD products before the federal government legalized hemp because of the 2014 Farm Bill, which started a pilot program for participating states to grow industrial hemp.
“There’s been more media around it since Texas has come on board, definitely,” Kerver said. “Texans are becoming more educated about it and much more open to it.”
Industry leaders say they can’t calculate the exact number of new CBD businesses that have opened in Texas over the past year — in part because the Texas Department of State Health Services won’t implement licensing requirements until early this year — though anecdotally, many say they’ve seen an uptick.
The Austin Chamber of Commerce counted at least three CBD-related relocations or expansions since the bill passed last summer, creating about 140 new jobs in the emerging sector. But the list, which is compiled from public media announcements and deals the chamber is involved in, isn’t comprehensive.
Sisters Shayda and Sydney Torabi founded Restart CBD in September 2018, just before the Farm Bill passed. Sydney Torabi said the changes in the law have made business run more smoothly.
The two originally intended to operate the business exclusively online but decided to open a brick-and-mortar location in Austin after having difficulty with several online payment companies, from mom-and-pop merchants to giants like PayPal, that didn’t want anything to do with cannabis.
“We were a business, but it wasn’t as functional as it could’ve been until the [Texas] law passed,” Sydney Torabi said.
The Torabis started with a pop-up store and expanded to a permanent location last April, a month before Texas law changed.
“We were operating in a gray area until the Texas bill passed,” Sydney said. “It did take away a little bit of the stigma. Like, ‘OK, now it’s legal in Texas. We can go to a CBD shop and not feel like we’re doing something bad.’”
CBD comes in many forms: smokeable flower, tinctures, topicals, edibles and much more.
It’s not cheap. For example, offerings at Custom Botanical Dispensary, Kerver’s Austin-based collective, range from capsules ($96 for 30) and a Full Spectrum Tincture ($82 for 1 ounce) to a PMS Dark Chocolate Bar ($18), infused popcorn ($7) and even Pet Hemp Oil in flavors bacon and tuna ($40).
Despite lofty and wide-ranging claims, CBD is only FDA-approved to treat two rare kinds of epilepsy via prescription drug Epidiolex. In part, this is because little research has been done in the U.S. on the hemp derivative.
But the FDA also says the jury’s still out as to whether CBD is considered a safe substance.
“CBD has the potential to harm you, and harm can happen even before you become aware of it,” the agency said in a November consumer update, going on to list potential repercussions like liver injury. The effect on children and pregnant or nursing women is unknown, the FDA added.
In the meantime, businesses nationwide are getting wrist slaps for making medically unproven promises.
In November, the FDA sent warning letters to 22 CBD sellers across the country, including Noli Oil in Southlake. The letter to Noli Oil cited a myriad of illegal health claims, from inhibiting cancer cell growth to treating schizophrenia and antibiotic-resistant infections.
Also flagged was the company’s sale of edibles, like gummy bears and caramels, in interstate commerce. While CBD-infused food products can be manufactured and sold in Texas, they can’t cross state lines because the FDA considers the compound an “adulterant.”
Other sellers were targeted for falsely marketing CBD as a dietary supplement.
When it comes to touted benefits, Dr. Yasmin Hurd of Mount Sinai’s Addiction Institute said she’s cautiously optimistic.
“Can I say go be a guinea pig yourself? Unfortunately, just because of my position, I can’t really approve that,” Hurd said. “But clearly, hundreds of thousands of people are doing research on themselves and trying to find out what works on their particular ailment.”
There is some evidence to suggest it could be beneficial for anxiety, psychosis and substance abuse, Hurd said. Other claims, like its effect on chronic pain, are more dubious, at least until more research is done, she added.
But Kerver said her own experience and the testimonies of friends and family have convinced her of CBD’s efficacy.
Her husband found relief from inflammation after back surgery, and her siblings from anxiety and sleep issues. She said she has seen her own gut problems clear up completely.
“When someone has been constantly taking something for well over a year, and it’s still working for them for the same thing, and they have to have it, that’s not the placebo effect anymore,” Kerver said.
Hurd also warns that CBD can impact the performance of other medications, so those interested in trying it should first consult a doctor to learn more about potential interactions. Otherwise, CBD is relatively safe, she said, with the most common side effects being diarrhea and sleepiness.
Until stricter regulations, like requiring retailers to have CBD-specific licenses, are put in place this year, Kerver said there is little protecting consumers from bad actors. Still, there are some measures people can take to protect themselves while the Texas hemp industry is in limbo, starting with labels and vendors.
Pharmacies and health food stores are preferable to smoke shops and gas stations, according to Pittman.
“Avoid anything that has a pot leaf on it or that doesn’t look like a clean, medical product,” Pittman said.
Any reputable company will make test results easily accessible, and customers can use them to check THC content; trace amounts under 0.3% may still cause someone to test positive for marijuana on a drug test, Hurd said.
Buyers should also be wary of products that make any explicit health claims, which are considered illegal by the FDA. While retailers can say a particular CBD product helps alleviate a symptom, like difficulty sleeping, they can’t say it treats or cures a diagnosable condition, like insomnia, according to Pittman.
“That’s where we walk the fine line,” Kerver said. “We can’t say anything, but luckily we’ve been in business long enough to go, ‘I’ve got 10 customers, they all use this for sleep, and they’re all coming back for it for sleep, and they buy it every month for sleep, and they’re really happy with it.’”
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated how Texas criminally classified hemp before the state’s hemp law was passed.
Disclosure: The Austin Chamber of Commerce has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.
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Much of the sudden spike in popularity is thanks to a Texas law last year that legalized hemp, the plant from which CBD is derived.