Texas hemp business owners and advocates are suing the state over provisions of the hemp law that ban smokable forms of the hemp-derived products, Houston Public Media reports. The lawsuit argues that the ban on manufacturing and processing smokable products included in the law is unconstitutional and that the ban on distributing and selling these products is invalid.
Jax Finkel, executive director of the Texas Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) said the ban goes beyond the intent of the hemp bill that took effect on August 2.
Sarah Kerver, owner of Custom Botanical Dispensary and founder of hemp brand 1937 Apothecary told HPM that the “majority of the [public] comments” submitted to officials opposed the ban. She added that 51 percent of her sales are smokeable or vapeable products.
There are, reportedly, loopholes in the provisions banning smokeable hemp products, which can remain on store shelves so long as they are not sold or marketed as a smokable product. The ban also does not prohibit raw hemp from being cultivated, manufactured, or sold in other consumable forms and does not prevent Texans from ordering smokeable hemp products online. The bill does include an in-state ban on manufacturing products intended for smoking or vaping.
In an interview with Marijuana Moment, Chelsie Spencer, counsel for lead plaintiff Crown Distributing LLC., called the ban “unfortunate” and warned that it would “foreclose such a large economic opportunity” for Texas which would likely move jobs in the industry to bordering states. He told Marijuana Moment that his clients stand to lose $59.6 million over the next five years if the ban is upheld. Spencer estimates the state could lose $2.9 million in tax revenues directly due to the law.
The lawsuit is filed in Travis County.