The 2018 Farm Bill officially legalized hemp-derived products across the nation, but every state was in charge of regulating CBD on their own turf. As of now, most states have approved some form of a hemp pilot program to distribute licenses to grow and manufacture hemp. Still, understanding hemp consumer laws isn’t al Much of the sudden spike in popularity is thanks to a Texas law last year that legalized hemp, the plant from which CBD is derived.
Is CBD legal in Texas?
The 2018 Farm Bill officially legalized hemp-derived products across the nation, but every state was in charge of regulating CBD on their own turf. As of now, most states have approved some form of a hemp pilot program to distribute licenses to grow and manufacture hemp.
Still, understanding hemp consumer laws isn’t always straightforward, especially in states that haven’t always been so cannabis-friendly, like Texas. So, is CBD legal in Texas? And if so, where can you buy it?
Thankfully, yes, CBD is legal in Texas, but there are some restrictions regarding the type of CBD products you can buy and possess. Here’s how Texas CBD laws break down:
Disclaimer: We’re always working to stay informed on the latest CBD laws and research. However, state laws are subject to change and we advise that you do your own research to verify the information you find in this article. This is not intended as legal advice.
Texas updated legislation to approve hemp farming and manufacturing after the 2018 Farm Bill became law. The state also removed hemp, and therefore CBD, from it’s controlled substances list, legalizing CBD in the state.
You do not need a prescription, but CBD products with more than 0.3% THC are only available as part of the state’s heavily restricted medical program.
There are no age limits for buying CBD, and CBD products may be accessible across the state. However, the state has banned smokable products, like hemp flower.
Texas imposes some regulations that affect growers, manufacturers, and sellers, but there are not many regulations regarding hemp testing for quality, purity, and safety.
Shopping online may give you better oversight of brand quality, and many online CBD brands ship legal CBD products to Texas to buyers aged 18 and up.
Legal Concerns About CBD
It’s true that CBD gained its federal legal status in 2018. The Hemp Farming Act effectively removed industrial hemp and its natural derivatives (like cannabinoids) from the Controlled Substances Act.
But there’s a catch, and it complicates things:
Legal CBD products must come from industrial hemp.
This classification is designated to hemp material that meets a strict set of standards. The most significant is that it contains less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. If CBD products are made from any cannabis strain that contains more than 0.3% THC, it is not a federally legal product.
The final product must contain less than 0.3% THC, too.
That means that even if a brand starts with legal hemp material, they need to carry out careful manufacturing procedures to produce a legal end product. It’s possible for certain cannabinoids to be “concentrated” during the extraction process, leading to higher THC concentrations than in the original material. Proper manufacturing and careful testing need to be employed to avoid this issue.
Because there is very little regulation in the CBD industry, it’s important to evaluate a brand carefully before you buy. It can be hard to tell if a CBD product is made from a legal hemp source and meets the federal guidelines for legal hemp products. The best way to ensure that your CBD products are legal is by checking the third-party lab tests for cannabinoid potency.
Of course, these regulations only apply on a federal scale. You must also ensure that your products meet the standards laid out by federal guidelines and those set by your state.
What are the CBD laws in Texas?
Following the 2018 Farm Bill, Texas passed updated legislation that removed hemp and it’s extracts from the controlled substances list.
In mid-June of 2019, Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 1325 into law. This new bill laid the bones for new hemp legislation in the state and established some loose regulations for hemp agriculture, manufacturing, and sales. As a result, CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are now legal in the state.
This bill also enabled the Texas Department of Agriculture to work with the
Department of State Health Services to create new hemp rules and regulations as needed
On Aug 2, the state began enforcing a new law—smokable hemp products were prohibited. Similar laws can be observed in a handful of other states, like North Carolina, Arkansas, Iowa, and Georgia.
To date, the state has no clear ban on CBD food or supplements. That means consumers can access consumable and topical CBD products that are made according to legal guidelines in Texas, with the exception of raw hemp flower and vaporizers.
Is full spectrum CBD legal in Texas?
It’s easy to assume that CBD isolate, which contains no THC, is legal in most places. Laws surrounding full spectrum products that contain some amount of THC are not always so clear. Texas law allows for CBD products to contain up to 0.3% THC, which means full spectrum CBD products are legal in the state.
Does Texas have a CBD possession limit?
Texas laws do not define any possession limits for products that meet the legal requirements for hemp. Smokable hemp products, like flower and vaporizers, are prohibited in the state. CBD products that contain more than 0.3% THC are considered cannabis products, which are only legal for qualifying patients. These types of products are subject to different regulations and possession limits.
Do you need a prescription for CBD in Texas?
There is no need for a prescription to access CBD products in Texas. In fact, doctors typically cannot “prescribe” CBD products that are sold over the counter, rather they may “recommend” them. Even in states where medical marijuana is legal, access usually requires a doctor’s recommendation, not a prescription.
The exception is for CBD products with more than 0.3% THC, which are considered cannabis products by the state. Cannabis products are generally illegal, but may be accessible through the state’s medical cannabis program for qualifying patients.
CBD is still new, and only one CBD product has been approved by the FDA to date. This product, GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex, is designed to treat rare forms of childhood epilepsy. Aside from this product (which comes with stringent usage guidelines), many doctors are still learning about CBD. If you’re interested in the benefits of CBD, you may need to spark a conversation with your doctor.
Where to buy CBD in Texas?
Texas does not impose many strict regulations regarding CBD sales, which may make it easy to find CBD in stores and grocery markets across the state. However, these relaxed regulations fail to impose testing requirements to ensure safety and purity. It’s important for consumers to do their research before buying CBD in Texas.
Buying CBD online is a suitable option for most consumers. When you buy CBD online directly from the brand, you get better oversight of the brand’s manufacturing practices. Looking at the brand’s hemp source and lab testing procedures can help ensure that the CBD products you choose are clean, potent, and meet legal guidelines.
Buying CBD directly from a brand instead of from a third-party market may also be less costly since you won’t have to pay the extra fees that are often tacked on by the middle man. Of course, premium CBD can be expensive to manufacture, so you should also be wary of products that offer low-ball prices.
Finally, buying CBD online may be the best way to access many different types of CBD. The most common type of CBD product is an oil tincture, but you can find a variety of CBD edibles, topicals, and other specialty products when you shop online.
For more information on how to find high-quality CBD products, check out our CBD Buyer’s Guide.
How old do you have to be to buy CBD in Texas?
In theory, CBD should be accessible to people of all ages, especially since it originally gained popularity as a treatment for various childhood illnesses. Of course, some products may not be suitable for people of all ages, like smokable hemp flower or CBD vaporizers.
CBD age limits are mostly undefined, even by federal law. Texas does not impose any age restrictions for buying CBD products, but there may still be limitations.
Generally, the minimum age for purchase is decided by the vendor. The legal age for buying tobacco has been increased to 21, and it’s possible that most CBD vendors will require buyers to meet this minimum age requirement as well.
Many CBD brands allow customers who are 18 or older to order online and will ship legal CBD products to Texas.
Is CBD legal in all 50 states?
Thanks to federal updates, CBD has the potential to be legal in every U.S. state. CBD is legal in Texas, but every state has different regulations regarding the manufacture and sale of CBD. Click here to find out where CBD is legal.
CBD products are everywhere in Texas since the state legalized hemp. Experts warn: buyer beware.
Much of the sudden spike in popularity is thanks to a Texas law last year that legalized hemp, the plant from which CBD is derived.
by Naomi Andu Jan. 23, 2020 12 AM Central
A hemp plant inside of the Custom Botanical Dispensary in Austin. Stores selling CBD products are popping up across Texas. Credit: Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune
In 2017, business was slow for Sarah Kerver. She was a sales rep for a Colorado-based company trying to push hemp and CBD products in Texas. But customers were apprehensive.
“No one wanted to touch [CBD]. No one wanted to talk about it. No one was interested in carrying this product in any sort of spa or retail space,” Kerver said.
Today, the market for CBD, or cannabidiol, is exploding. Stores are popping up across the state selling tinctures and topicals. It’s being mixed into smoothies and coffee at cafes. Spas are advertising CBD massages and therapies. And much of the sudden spike in popularity is thanks to a Texas law last year that legalized hemp, the plant from which CBD is derived.
“You go anywhere now, and you find something that says ‘CBD’ on it,” said Kerver, who’s now in talks with Austin distributors interested in carrying her CBD product line, called 1937 Apothecary.
But buyer beware, experts warn. Anyone can sell CBD in Texas. Many of the products are advertised as natural alternatives to prescription medications and make unfounded claims to treat conditions like chronic pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, diabetes and psychosis. None of these claims are recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
And because of lax labeling and licensing regulations, unsuspecting consumers may not actually know what they’re buying.
“Unless you really know that it’s something reputable, I would say to be wary because you don’t really know that it is even CBD,” Kerver said.
In 2018, the federal government passed a new Farm Bill legalizing hemp and derivatives, like CBD, with less than 0.3% of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. Hemp and marijuana are both part of the cannabis plant family, but while marijuana is rich in THC and produces a high, hemp contains only traces of the psychoactive compounds and is richer in CBD.
In June, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill legalizing hemp and bringing state policy in line with federal law.
Confusion on the part of law enforcement has led to the wrongful arrests of some in possession of CBD or hemp even after the Texas law went into effect. Still, the policy change is an important step on the way to allowing Texans to partake without fear of reprisal, according to Lisa Pittman, a lawyer on the Texas Department of Agriculture’s industrial hemp advisory council.
Sarah Kerver is the owner of Custom Botanical Dispensary in Austin. Credit: Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune
Because Kerver launched her line before the Texas bill, she’s seen firsthand how changes in the law have led to evolving attitudes in Texas about the products. Previously, she was able to sell Colorado CBD products before the federal government legalized hemp because of the 2014 Farm Bill, which started a pilot program for participating states to grow industrial hemp.
“There’s been more media around it since Texas has come on board, definitely,” Kerver said. “Texans are becoming more educated about it and much more open to it.”
Industry leaders say they can’t calculate the exact number of new CBD businesses that have opened in Texas over the past year — in part because the Texas Department of State Health Services won’t implement licensing requirements until early this year — though anecdotally, many say they’ve seen an uptick.
The Austin Chamber of Commerce counted at least three CBD-related relocations or expansions since the bill passed last summer, creating about 140 new jobs in the emerging sector. But the list, which is compiled from public media announcements and deals the chamber is involved in, isn’t comprehensive.
Sisters Shayda and Sydney Torabi founded Restart CBD in September 2018, just before the Farm Bill passed. Sydney Torabi said the changes in the law have made business run more smoothly.
The two originally intended to operate the business exclusively online but decided to open a brick-and-mortar location in Austin after having difficulty with several online payment companies, from mom-and-pop merchants to giants like PayPal, that didn’t want anything to do with cannabis.
“We were a business, but it wasn’t as functional as it could’ve been until the [Texas] law passed,” Sydney Torabi said.
The Torabis started with a pop-up store and expanded to a permanent location last April, a month before Texas law changed.
“We were operating in a gray area until the Texas bill passed,” Sydney said. “It did take away a little bit of the stigma. Like, ‘OK, now it’s legal in Texas. We can go to a CBD shop and not feel like we’re doing something bad.’”
Kerver owns her own CBD product line, called 1937 Apothecary. Items at the store range from magazines, capsules, tinctures, edibles and hemp oil. Credit: Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune
CBD comes in many forms: smokeable flower, tinctures, topicals, edibles and much more.
It’s not cheap. For example, offerings at Custom Botanical Dispensary, Kerver’s Austin-based collective, range from capsules ($96 for 30) and a Full Spectrum Tincture ($82 for 1 ounce) to a PMS Dark Chocolate Bar ($18), infused popcorn ($7) and even Pet Hemp Oil in flavors bacon and tuna ($40).
Despite lofty and wide-ranging claims, CBD is only FDA-approved to treat two rare kinds of epilepsy via prescription drug Epidiolex. In part, this is because little research has been done in the U.S. on the hemp derivative.
But the FDA also says the jury’s still out as to whether CBD is considered a safe substance.
“CBD has the potential to harm you, and harm can happen even before you become aware of it,” the agency said in a November consumer update, going on to list potential repercussions like liver injury. The effect on children and pregnant or nursing women is unknown, the FDA added.
In the meantime, businesses nationwide are getting wrist slaps for making medically unproven promises.
In November, the FDA sent warning letters to 22 CBD sellers across the country, including Noli Oil in Southlake. The letter to Noli Oil cited a myriad of illegal health claims, from inhibiting cancer cell growth to treating schizophrenia and antibiotic-resistant infections.
Also flagged was the company’s sale of edibles, like gummy bears and caramels, in interstate commerce. While CBD-infused food products can be manufactured and sold in Texas, they can’t cross state lines because the FDA considers the compound an “adulterant.”
Other sellers were targeted for falsely marketing CBD as a dietary supplement.
When it comes to touted benefits, Dr. Yasmin Hurd of Mount Sinai’s Addiction Institute said she’s cautiously optimistic.
“Can I say go be a guinea pig yourself? Unfortunately, just because of my position, I can’t really approve that,” Hurd said. “But clearly, hundreds of thousands of people are doing research on themselves and trying to find out what works on their particular ailment.”
There is some evidence to suggest it could be beneficial for anxiety, psychosis and substance abuse, Hurd said. Other claims, like its effect on chronic pain, are more dubious, at least until more research is done, she added.
But Kerver said her own experience and the testimonies of friends and family have convinced her of CBD’s efficacy.
Her husband found relief from inflammation after back surgery, and her siblings from anxiety and sleep issues. She said she has seen her own gut problems clear up completely.
“When someone has been constantly taking something for well over a year, and it’s still working for them for the same thing, and they have to have it, that’s not the placebo effect anymore,” Kerver said.
A display case inside the Custom Botanical Dispensary in Austin. Credit: Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune
Hurd also warns that CBD can impact the performance of other medications, so those interested in trying it should first consult a doctor to learn more about potential interactions. Otherwise, CBD is relatively safe, she said, with the most common side effects being diarrhea and sleepiness.
Until stricter regulations, like requiring retailers to have CBD-specific licenses, are put in place this year, Kerver said there is little protecting consumers from bad actors. Still, there are some measures people can take to protect themselves while the Texas hemp industry is in limbo, starting with labels and vendors.
Pharmacies and health food stores are preferable to smoke shops and gas stations, according to Pittman.
“Avoid anything that has a pot leaf on it or that doesn’t look like a clean, medical product,” Pittman said.
Any reputable company will make test results easily accessible, and customers can use them to check THC content; trace amounts under 0.3% may still cause someone to test positive for marijuana on a drug test, Hurd said.
Buyers should also be wary of products that make any explicit health claims, which are considered illegal by the FDA. While retailers can say a particular CBD product helps alleviate a symptom, like difficulty sleeping, they can’t say it treats or cures a diagnosable condition, like insomnia, according to Pittman.
“That’s where we walk the fine line,” Kerver said. “We can’t say anything, but luckily we’ve been in business long enough to go, ‘I’ve got 10 customers, they all use this for sleep, and they’re all coming back for it for sleep, and they buy it every month for sleep, and they’re really happy with it.’”
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated how Texas criminally classified hemp before the state’s hemp law was passed.
Disclosure: The Austin Chamber of Commerce has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.