The Texas Department of State Health Services recently announced that it will remove hemp from its list of Schedule I controlled substances. Schedule I contains drugs that are highly dangerous, addictive, and typically have no accepted medical use. Other notable Schedule I drugs include cocaine, LSD, and heroin.
Nonetheless, the move does little to clarify the legal status of products containing hemp that many stores already sell in Texas, including gummies, creams, and oils. As of right now, hemp remains illegal. Hemp, unlike marijuana, contains low levels of THC, which is the psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant that produces a high in user. Nonetheless, state law currently prohibits the possession and sales of both hemp and marijuana as the same substance in most circumstances. Only patients with intractable epilepsy and prescriptions issued by two doctors can purchase cannabis products that contain up to 0.5 percent THC. Any other hemp products must contain no THC to be legal in the state of Texas.
The declassification of hemp as a Schedule I controlled substance only partially brings it into compliance with current federal law. Last year, Congress legalized hemp containing less than 0.3 percent THC. As a result, the Texas legislature would need to amend its current definition of hemp and the accompanying penalties for buying and selling it to comply with federal law. Although legislation is pending in the Texas legislature, it is debatable whether the proposed legislation will pass before the end of the current legislative session.
This continuing confusion under Texas law is leading to different legal repercussions for shops that sell CBD oil in different jurisdictions. While Dallas County has not prioritized enforcing laws regarding hemp on shops selling CBD products or consumers who purchase, the Tarrant County district attorney issued a statement that CBD oil is illegal. This statement led to police raids of shops selling CBD oil in Fort Worth. A complicating factor is that even if law enforcement authorities do file charges regarding the possession or sales of hemp products, they often end up dropping the charges because they must have each individual product tested to prove it is illegal under state law.
An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney can help you build a strong defense against any criminal charges. We are here to evaluate the facts surrounding your case, present your options, and help you make the decisions that will be most beneficial to you, based on your circumstances. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 399-2311 today and see how we can help.