Just over a year ago, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation allowing production and retail sale of hemp and hemp products in the state.
Since then retail shops selling things like cannabidiol, better known as CBD oil in a variety of forms, including tinctures and edibles. Some also sold hemp products that could be smoked or vaped.
It's important to note the legal hemp is not the same as marijuana. It does not contain a level of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — the psychoactive component of marijuana — so it doesn't produce a high.
Instead, many feel it provides relief from the symptoms and effects of a variety of medical conditions.
But final rules on the state's hemp program changed the game as of Sunday. Retailers can still sell hemp products — as long as they are not specifically manufactured to smoked or vaped. The reason? Well, it's pretty detailed but to keep things simple it seems even the small amount of what is called Delta 9 THC in legal hemp grows in potency when heated or burned. So it's hard to accurately ensure that, when smoked, the THC inhemp stays within legal limits.
Advocates for legal hemp say some users find smoking the plant works better for them than other forms of the product. And they worry the new rules will leave them without needed relief.
Some estimates put sales of smokable hemp at about 30 percent of the industry. So retailers will feel the pinch, too.
At least legally.
You see, growers can still grow the stuff and retailers will be able to sell loose hemp flower just as they have been. But they cannot market anything as smokable or make anything smokable, such as vape cartridges or pre-rolled hemp cigarettes.
What the consumer does with the still legal loose hemp flower is another matter.
Basically, it's now illegal to sell a hemp "joint," but legal to sell what's in it. So what we have here is a law that serves practically no purpose except to make things slightly more annoying to retailers and customers.