Proposed legislation seeks more regulation, criminal offense for some hemp products in Texas
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - State Senator Charles Perry was a leader in legalizing the hemp industry in Texas in 2019 and is now authoring new legislation for more regulation and penalties for some uses.
“Our farmers could benefit from the fiber side of it,” Perry said. “It is a construction material. It’s fire retardant. It’s strong and it’s reoccurring. There’s a large, worldwide market or global market that we haven’t tapped into. I had said at that point, we will do this for the agricultural community. For all of the other folks that have these oils and other supplements and other initiatives out here, beware, because if that ever begins to look a lot like legalized pot, inadvertently, that’s not the intent.”
Perry told KCBD he sees a benefit to hemp in Texas but it’s been a challenging start.
“It’s been a challenge to kick it off, largely because there’s no distinction between consumable consumer purchased over-the-counter [products],” Perry said. “Arguably, there’s some merit to some of those that have some medicinal value or perceived value.”
Perry said his SB 321 and 264 are focused on the chemical, namely Delta 9, that comes from the plant and its misuse.
“They literally create a synthetic kind of psychotropic out of an organic,” Perry said. “As I’ve said, and predicted, if you go down this road, there’s going to be repercussions. Specifically, this bill seeks to clarify that any set of synthetic derivatives, be it Delta 8, Delta 9, or other, is illegal. If you’re doing it, you’re going to get shut down. This bill is very, very strategic.”
According to SB 321, penalties could range from $500 fines to referral for criminal prosecution for a class B misdemeanor. The bills address licensing and even research of hemp by higher education institutions.
As of March 6, the bills have been referred to the Water, Agriculture, & Rural Affairs Committee, of which Senator Perry is chairman.
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