The 86th Legislative Session saw a record number of marijuana related bills filed in both the House and the Senate. There were some important advancements, powerful hearings, and a few disappointments this year. Here is what has been signed by the Governor:
Create Industrial Hemp Program (HB 1325) – HB 1325 passed with unanimous support in the House and Senate. The Governor signed this bill into statue on June 10th, 2019. The regulatory process will now begin. The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) will have 60 days to establish and send rules and regulations to the US government for approval. As stated by a TDA representative during the Senate hearing, it is expected that cultivation licenses will be granted by the end of 2019 and crops can be planted in early 2020. The legalization of industrial hemp is HUGE for Texas, especially for our farmers who were being cut out of the hemp industry. (HB 1325 Overview)
Limited Expansion of the Compassionate Use Program (HB 3703) – While HB 3703 is a very limited expansion, it will allow Texans with seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer, incurable neurodegenerative disease, autism, ALS, and spasticity to qualify for the Texas Compassionate Use Program. There was some interesting discussion on the Senate floor about medical cannabis, with some Senators advocating for more inclusive legislation while others questioned the value of the program and the medicine. HB 3703 passed the House with a bipartisan super majority and unanimously out of the Senate. The Governor signed this bill into statue on June 10th, 2019 and these changes will go into effect immediately. (HB 3703 Overview)
To read more on how the 60 plus bills fared, check out this blog by Texas NORML.
With medical cannabis available to only a select few — and a patchwork of policies being implemented at the local level — it’s important to understand Texas’s current policies and how we can improve them. To this end, we are working with our coalition partners to host our second annual Texas Marijuana Policy Conference from August 30th to September 1st in Austin, TX. Register now for early bird pricing and share the event with your friends and colleagues who are interested in this exciting movement! Rates go up on August 1st.
Our three-day conference will offer presentations from policy and industry leaders to help attendees better understand and navigate the new legal climate. We will also be focused on opportunities and our path forward to ensure more meaningful policy changes when the legislature meets again in 2021. In addition to policy and advocacy discussions surrounding decriminalization, medical cannabis, and hemp, we’ll feature a track of cannabis business sessions geared toward entrepreneurs, market watchdogs, and investors. We are currently accepting speaker recommendations.
We are currently looking for sponsors for this important educational and networking event. With your tax-deductible sponsorship, you’ll help us empower Texans with the tools they need to engage in their communities and with the legislature. Please reach out to me directly at [email protected] if you are interested in showcasing your company’s dedication to educating and empowering Texans.