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legality of cbd in texas

In Texas, the legality of Cannabidiol (CBD) hinges on its source and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration. As mandated by the 2018 federal Farm Bill, CBD derived from hemp and containing less than 0.3% THC is legal. This position was affirmed in Texas state law by Governor Greg Abbott in 2018. Despite this, a degree of confusion persists among law enforcement, occasionally leading to unwarranted arrests. From 2020, the Texas Department of State Health Services has introduced licensing requirements for CBD businesses. The legalization of hemp-derived CBD has prompted an upsurge in related businesses, bolstering job creation and economic growth in the state.

Key Takeaways

  • CBD derived from hemp with less than 0.3% THC is legal in Texas.
  • Confusion among law enforcement occasionally leads to unwarranted arrests.
  • The Texas Department of State Health Services has implemented licensing requirements for CBD businesses.
  • Texas has a more conservative approach to CBD and marijuana regulation compared to other states.

Overview of CBD

Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is one of the numerous compounds located in the cannabis plant, touted for its purported health benefits, yet remains under rigorous scientific investigation. The legal status of CBD in Texas has been a topic of robust debate, due in part to the state's historically conservative stance on cannabis. However, the landscape shifted dramatically with the enactment of the federal government's 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp and hemp derivatives like CBD containing less than 0.3% THC. This legislation prompted Texas to align its law with federal policy, leading to the legalization of CBD products in Texas.

The impact of this law change has been significant, leading to an increase in CBD businesses within the state. This surge has not only created jobs but also contributed to economic growth. Despite this progress, CBD's legal status in Texas is not without its complications. While it is no longer classified as illegal in Texas, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only officially recognizes CBD as a treatment for two rare forms of epilepsy. The FDA does not endorse unfounded health claims made by many CBD products in Texas, citing a lack of comprehensive research and generalizable evidence.

In light of these complexities, it is evident that a more robust regulatory framework is necessary in Texas. Stricter regulations, including CBD-specific licenses for retailers, would ensure consumer protection in the growing market for CBD products in Texas. This would not only safeguard public health but also contribute to the legitimacy and growth of the burgeoning CBD industry.

Texas CBD Legislation History

How did Texas evolve its legislation surrounding CBD, moving from stringent policies to a more open legal framework? The Texas CBD legislation history is a fascinating journey. For decades, the Lone Star State maintained strict laws against CBD due to concerns about the illegal amount of THC, the psychoactive component found in cannabis.

However, in June 2019, a significant shift occurred. The state legalized hemp following the signature of a Texas bill by Governor Greg Abbott. This move effectively brought Texas law in line with federal policy, ushering in a new era for the Texas hemp industry. This Texas bill, known as House Bill 1325, permitted the production, manufacture, and retail of hemp crops and products, provided they contained less than 0.3% THC.

In the wake of this legislative change, the Texas Department of Agriculture and the Texas Department of State Health Services were tasked with creating licensing requirements for CBD businesses. This move, planned for early 2020, aimed to regulate the burgeoning CBD industry in the state, ensuring product safety and industry standards.

The legalization of hemp in Texas has led to a rapid growth in the market for CBD in Texas. Many CBD businesses have emerged, creating jobs and stimulating economic growth. The Austin Chamber of Commerce has even noted several CBD-related relocations or expansions, further highlighting the positive impact of the new legislation on the Texas economy.

The Texas CBD legislation history shows a state moving from stringent policies to a more open legal framework, embracing the potential of the CBD industry, while maintaining regulations to ensure safety and quality.

Current CBD Laws in Texas

In line with the evolving legislation, the current laws governing CBD in Texas primarily focus on aligning state policy with federal law, while also working to enhance regulation and ensure product safety. CBD products are everywhere in Texas, confirming that CBD is legal in Texas. This is largely due to the Hemp Rules implemented by the Texas Department of Agriculture, which mandate the THC concentration in CBD products to be less than 0.3%.

However, there have been instances of confusion leading to wrongful arrests, primarily due to misunderstandings about the current CBD laws in Texas. The Texas Health and Safety Code was updated recently to eliminate this confusion, clearly defining legal boundaries for hemp and CBD products, while also working to enhance the regulation of CBD businesses in the state of Texas.

Despite these advances, the state government recognizes that regulation is in its early stages. Consumers are advised to purchase only from reputable sources, as lax labeling and licensing regulations have raised concerns about product quality and safety.

The Texas Department of State Health Services is expected to implement licensing requirements for CBD businesses in early 2020. This move is designed to further regulate the growing CBD market in Texas, ensuring that all CBD products sold in the state meet the required safety standards. This is part of the state's effort to ensure that Texas aligns with federal law, while also working to enhance the regulation and safety of CBD products.

Understanding Industrial Hemp

A significant portion of the CBD industry relies on industrial hemp, a variant of the cannabis plant with a THC concentration of less than 0.3%, as mandated by the federal 2018 Farm Bill. Industrial hemp, unlike its closely related species marijuana, lacks the psychoactive properties that give users a 'high' sensation, due to its low THC content.

The understanding of industrial hemp has been clarified under the hemp law, which distinguishes it from marijuana, a plant that remains illegal under federal law. Texas, along with 136 other jurisdictions, has aligned its state policy with this federal legislation. Consequently, the Texas Department of State Health Services implemented licensing requirements for CBD businesses in early 2020, after the legalization of hemp.

The Health and Safety Code in Texas now recognizes products derived from industrial hemp, including CBD, as legal, provided they contain no more than 0.3% THC. This regulation is in place for testing potency and contaminants, ensuring the safety and legality of these products.

This shift in law has resulted in an economic boom, with an increase in CBD businesses across the state. Despite the Texas Supreme Court ruling on marijuana, hemp and its derivatives like CBD have carved out a legal niche within the state. Understanding the crucial difference between marijuana and industrial hemp is fundamental to comprehend the legal landscape of CBD in Texas. This distinction, based on THC concentration, has allowed for the growth of a vibrant and legal CBD industry.

Penalties for Marijuana Possession

Despite the legality of CBD derived from industrial hemp, Texas law enforcement maintains stringent penalties for marijuana possession, with the severity of punishment escalating based on the quantity involved. The cannabis plant, from which both CBD and marijuana are derived, contains a psychoactive compound known as THC. This is where the laws concerning drug use become nuanced. While CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are legal, marijuana, which contains a higher percentage of this compound, is still listed on the Texas Health Department's list of controlled substances.

Possessing two ounces or less of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor, with criminal penalties including up to 180 days in jail and fines up to $2,000. The punishment intensifies if one is found with two to four ounces of marijuana, leading to a Class A misdemeanor. This can result in up to one year in jail and a fine reaching $4,000.

The consequences become more severe when the amount exceeds four ounces. Here, law enforcement does not hold back on the severity of the punishment as it becomes a felony. The penalties range from 180 days to 99 years in prison, coupled with fines that can scale up to $50,000.

Furthermore, possessing less than a gram of hash or marijuana concentrate can result in between 180 days and two years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine. The penalties for possessing more than a gram of these substances can extend to a life sentence and a $50,000 fine. These stringent measures reflect Texas' stern stance on marijuana use and possession.

CBD Safety and Quality Concerns

Consumer safety, a paramount concern when discussing CBD use, brings into focus the need for stricter regulations and quality control measures for CBD products in Texas. Since the state legalized CBD for personal use, the Health Department has been grappling with a rise in products containing CBD. A critical issue is the presence of heavy metals and pesticides, which pose severe health risks.

The Food and Drug Administration has repeatedly warned about the potential risks, including liver injury, changes in mood and appetite, associated with CBD use. This emphasizes the need for intensive research and stringent quality control. However, the Texas Tribunes policies reveal a gaping lack of regulation and misleading claims made by CBD retailers. This has amplified the need for CBD-specific licenses for those who sell CBD, a move that would ensure the quality and authenticity of CBD products.

In 2019, Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill that allowed farmers to grow hemp and retailers to sell CBD products, provided they contained less than 0.3% THC. While this was a significant leap forward, the lack of oversight leaves consumers exposed to substandard products. Therefore, the state must prioritize consumer safety, enforce stricter regulations, and invest in research to understand the long-term effects of CBD use fully. Conviction for possessing even small amounts of THC can have severe consequences, further underscoring the need for quality control and stringent regulation of CBD products.

Comparing Texas and Other States

In comparison to other states, Texas's stance on CBD legality presents a unique blend of cautious progression and strict regulation. The status of CBD in Texas has been evolving since the state passed a bill in 2019 aligning its hemp law with federal legislation. This law paved the way for the legal production, sale, and regulation of hemp-derived CBD products under the purview of the state Health Services.

The bill was passed amidst a rapidly growing CBD market and an increase in CBD businesses, thus contributing to job creation and economic growth. Unlike other states, however, Texas has yet to fully legalize marijuana. There are ongoing efforts to lessen the criminal penalties for marijuana possession, but the law remains firm on the distinction between marijuana and CBD.

The state Health Department strictly enforces the legal limits for possession of CBD and THC. The law went into effect with severe penalties for exceeding the allowable THC concentration, which differentiates hemp in Texas from marijuana. Consequently, the Department advises consumers to exercise caution and seek legal assistance if facing arrest for CBD or THC possession.

Comparing Texas and other states, it's clear that Texas has adopted a more conservative approach towards the regulation of CBD and marijuana. While some states have fully legalized marijuana, Texas continues to uphold stringent regulations and penalties. Nonetheless, the state has shown progression in recognizing the potential economic benefits of the CBD industry.

Future of CBD Legalization in Texas

Given the current trends and attitudes towards CBD and cannabis in Texas, the future of CBD legalization appears to be shifting towards increased acceptance and regulation. The Texas Department of State Health is set to implement licensing requirements for CBD businesses, indicating more regulation and oversight. This move, paired with the popularity of CBD products, which has increased everywhere in Texas since the passing of the Farm Bill, suggests a positive trajectory for the future of CBD legalization in Texas.

However, it is essential to note that some products are still illegal, and Texas reporting needs to be accurate about the types of products that are legal and those that are not. The critical factor that differentiates these products is the presence of THC. As per the Federal Farm Bill, Hemp-derived products with less than 0.3% THC are legal, but anything above that is considered marijuana and is still illegal.

The legalization of hemp in Texas has also led to the development of a state-wide hemp program, which has opened up new avenues for business and job creation. This economic impact is a fundamental aspect to know about Texas's approach to CBD and cannabis.

Furthermore, with the Texas Republican Party supporting the move of cannabis from a Schedule I to a Schedule II drug at the federal level, the future of CBD legalization in Texas may see even more progress and acceptance. This shift in political support indicates a potential change in federal regulations that could further solidify the legitimacy of the CBD industry in the state.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is CBD Still Legal in Texas?

Yes, CBD is still legal in Texas. The state legalized hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC in 2019. However, the Texas Department of State Health Services has indicated it will implement licensing requirements for CBD businesses. Despite this, some confusion exists among law enforcement, leading to wrongful arrests. The legal status of delta-8, another cannabis-derived substance, remains unclear due to ongoing lawsuits.

What Happens if You Get Caught With CBD in Texas?

In Texas, if you are caught with CBD containing more than 0.3% THC, it is considered illegal. The penalties for possession can vary from fines to imprisonment, depending on the quantity and concentration. Due to the early stages of CBD regulation in Texas, potential issues with product quality and legal compliance can arise. Consequences of an arrest can be severe, including loss of federal aid and job, or even deportation for immigrants.

Is Delta 11 Legal in Texas?

The legality of Delta-11 in Texas is not clearly defined at present. Laws regarding cannabis and its derivatives are complex and often change. Currently, Texas allows consumable hemp products with less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. However, Delta-8 is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. For Delta-11, it's crucial to stay updated with the state and federal laws. Always opt for products that provide test results indicating THC content.

Can You Drive and Smoke CBD in Texas?

In Texas, it is prohibited to smoke CBD while driving, irrespective of its legal status. This is in line with the state's laws against consuming hemp products while operating a vehicle. Even though hemp-derived CBD is permitted for travel within Texas and across state lines by the TSA, the act of smoking it while driving remains unlawful. Therefore, it is advisable to refrain from such practices to avoid potential legal complications.


Despite lingering confusion among law enforcement and upcoming licensing requirements, the legalization of CBD derived from hemp has positively impacted economic growth and job creation in Texas. While safety and quality concerns persist, the state has taken steps to align its legislation with federal law, fostering a more conducive environment for the growth of CBD businesses. The future of CBD legalization in Texas promises further evolution and potential expansion.

Marshan B.


Marshan B.

Marshan Beals is a co-partner at Client Verge Inc. With 8 years of experience in digital marketing, his expertise extends beyond digital marketing for cannabis brands. He is also a sponsor of the High Profits ebook, available for download when you sign up for our email list.