Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation legalizing hemp production and hemp-derived CBD products. But it could be awhile before there are fields of hemp across the Texas landscape.
That’s mainly because federal regulators, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration have not yet issued their own guidelines for states wanting to grow hemp.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said he's waiting for them.
“And once those guidelines come out, they’ll come out about July or August, I can begin my process of writing the rules, and I tell you right now how I’m going to write them, they’re going to have the bare minimum of the federal guidelines,” Miller said.
Miller's office has not yet issued a single permit, and he worried that the Texas market is already saturated.
“I encourage each farmer who grows this plant to make absolutely sure he has a contract buyer before he puts a single seed in the ground,” Miller said.
Congress legalized hemp and hemp-derived CBD in 2018 and defined hemp as having a 0.3% psychoactive THC concentration or lower.
Miller said if a field tests above that amount, state officials will be forced to burn the entire crop.
He expected the permits would be issued ahead of 2020 spring planting season.
Ryan Poppe can be reached at RPoppe@TPR.org and on Twitter at @RyanPoppe1