Is CBD Oil Legal in Texas?

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the active chemical compounds found in cannabis plants. The marijuana plant contains numerous chemical compounds, referred to as cannabinoids, with Delta 9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) being the most active compound. Tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive chemical in the marijuana plant that causes the euphoric sensations experienced when it is consumed. CBD is the second-most prevalent compound in cannabis plants, but it can also be derived from industrial hemp plants or manufactured in a laboratory. Medical marijuana advocates assert that CBD retains the therapeutic effects ascribed to cannabis without possessing the psychoactive qualities (high) attributed to THC. CBD is reputed to possess anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective qualities.

Medical marijuana proponents assert that CBD is a viable treatment for patients with medical conditions that have not responded to conventional medication. CBD can be recommended as an alternative treatment for conditions such as intractable epilepsy and other seizure disorders, ALS, MS, anxiety disorders, and terminal illnesses. CBD is available as capsules, pills, creams, lotions, oils, tinctures, vapes, and edibles such as candy and beverages.

The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 is a bill passed by the U.S. Congress that essentially removed hemp from the federal controlled substances schedule. The Act established a distinction between hemp and marijuana at the federal level. Hemp is defined as cannabis plants with lower than 0.3% THC content by weight, while marijuana refers to cannabis plants with over 0.3% THC-content by weight. The Act descheduled hemp and legalized CBD oils (and other products) derived from hemp in the United States. It also provides states with the ability to regulate, and even prohibit, CBD cultivation and commerce.

Is CBD Oil Legal in Texas?

Consequent to the passage of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, the Texas Department of State Health Services delisted CBD as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Governor Abbott signed House Bill 1325 into law, which established regulations for the cultivation, production, and testing of hemp and hemp products in the state. Texas adopted the federal definitions for hemp and marijuana, and as such CBD oils or products made from hemp are legal in the state. The Hemp Farming Act defines legal CBD as CBD derived from cannabis plants (hemp) that contain no more than 0.3% THC content by weight.

The Texas Compassionate Use Act is the state's medical marijuana law, which was passed in 2015 and further amended in 2019 and 2021. It legalizes the use of low-THC CBD products as an alternative treatment by patients registered in the state Compassionate Use Program. The Act defines low-THC cannabis as CBD products (oils, tinctures, ointments, creams, edibles, and beverages) that contain up to 0.5% THC content by weight. This limit was increased to 1% in the 2021 amendment. Patients registered in the Compassionate Use Program must have been diagnosed with one of the following debilitating medical conditions by a certified physician:

  • Autism
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Incurable neurodegenerative disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Seizure disorders
  • Spasticity
  • Terminal cancer

What are Texas CBD Laws in 2022?

Congress enacted the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 to legalize the production and possession of hemp and hemp products in the United States. Hemp was defined, in the Act, as cannabis plants in which the THC content is not more than 0.3% by weight. Oils and other products made with CBD derived from hemp plants are legal across the United States and widely available.

Following the descheduling of hemp as a federally controlled substance with the passage of federal hemp laws, Texas passed its Hemp Farming Act - House Bill 1325. Federal hemp laws granted states the authority to regulate hemp cultivation, production, and retail in their jurisdictions. HB 1325 is the Act relating to the production and regulation of hemp and hemp products in the state. It established the legalities for the regulations for cultivating hemp and producing hemp products, such as CBD. It also empowered the Department of Agriculture to establish the administrative rules to govern the Texas Industrial Hemp Program. Hemp and products derived from hemp, such as CBD, that contain no more than 0.3% THC content are legal in Texas and can be easily procured.

The Texas Legislature passed the Texas Compassionate Use Act in 2015 to serve as the state's de-facto medical marijuana program. The Act established the Texas Compassionate Use Program under the Texas Department of Public Safety. The Act enabled the use of low-THC CBD oils with up to 0.5% THC content, as a medication by patients with approved debilitating medical conditions. Patients who have failed to respond to conventional medications can be recommended CBD oils as an alternative treatment, provided they meet the statutory requirements. CBD can only be recommended as a treatment for a prescribed set of medical conditions, which is subject to increase by the Health and Human Services Commission. The Act was amended in 2019 by House Bill 3703 to:

  • Increase the number of debilitating conditions, for which low-THC cannabis can be recommended
  • Regulate the production and sales of hemp-derived products in the state
  • Simplify the registration process for participating physicians

In 2021, HB1535 was passed to further amend the Compassionate Use Act. It included non-terminal cancer, PTSD, and other medical conditions designated by the Health and Human Services Commission. It also increased the THC content in legal CBD-derived products from 0.5% to 1% and established a review board to evaluate and approve research programs on the medical use of cannabis.

The use of marijuana recreationally is still illegal in Texas and this includes the recreational use of low-THC cannabis products, including CBD. Only registered participants in the Compassionate Use Program can legally possess and use CBD-derived products that contain more than 0.3% THC content.

What are Texas CBD Possession Limits?

Statutorily, there are no recommended limits on the quantities of hemp CBD that can be legally possessed in Texas. Federal and state hemp laws allow the citizens of Texas to possess CBD derived from hemp without any restrictions. Participants in the state Compassionate Use Program are able to possess low-THC CBD, but the Compassionate Use Act does not set possession limits and leaves this to the recommending physicians.

Can Doctors Prescribe CBD Oil in Texas?

Yes. In fact, doctors' recommendations are required for the legal possession and use of low-THC CBD oil in Texas. The Texas Compassionate Use Act established the Compassionate Use Program to enable participants in the program to use low-THC cannabis oil as a medication for:

  • Epilepsy
  • Seizure Disorders
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Spasticity
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Autism
  • Cancer
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Incurable Neurodegenerative Diseases

The provisions of the Compassionate Use Program necessitate the recommendation of a certified physician verifying that CBD oil may be used as an alternative treatment. The patient must then obtain a second doctor's recommendation verifying this diagnosis. Both doctors' recommendations are required to be registered in the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas to legally use low-THC CBD oil. Recommendations for the use of low-THC CBD must be provided by board-certified physicians who specialize in the treatment of the medical condition they are making the recommendation for. Physicians are required to also provide dosage recommendations and instructions for CBD use to the patient.

What are the Licensing Requirements for CBD in Texas?

The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) licenses consumable hemp manufacturers and distributors in the state, as well as registers retailers of consumable hemp products. Applicants for either license must be 18 years or older and be legal residents of Texas. Consumable hemp products (CHPs) refer to any product that contains hemp and was manufactured or produced for consumption. This includes foods, drugs, devices, and cosmetics, but excludes products containing hemp seeds. CHPs may contain no more than 0.3% delta-9 THC concentration, in accordance with the Hemp Farming Act of 2018.

A consumable hemp product license must be held by any:

  • Person who wishes to manufacture or process consumable hemp products
  • Retailer that uses their own labels and packaging for hemp products physically manufactured by another business
  • Retailer that repackages or relabels containers of CHPs
  • CHP wholesaler

Applications for CHP licenses are made by completing and submitting an online business license application. Applicants must also include the following documents, with their applications:

The DSHS CHP license checklist provides details for all the items required to complete a license application process. Applicants who owe the DSHS outstanding fees or have a felony conviction relating to controlled substances in the past 10 years can not be awarded licenses. A consumable hemp product license costs $258, and license holders must have one for each facility where they cultivate or manufacture hemp products. Licenses are valid for a year and must be renewed annually for license holders to retain their statutory rights.

A retail hemp registration must be held for retail sales of CHPs, where the retailer does not make any changes to the original labels or packaging of the products. These retail sales of CHPs can be conducted online or via storefront. Any person or entity that wants to register to retail hemp products must initiate their registration for a DSHS business and professional license. Applicants will receive emails with their User IDs and passwords, which the applicants will use to log back into the portal to complete their registrations. Registration costs $155 for each location where the CHPs will be retailed and is valid for one year, after which the registration must be renewed.

Where to Buy CBD in Texas?

CBD oils and products derived from hemp are widely available over-the-counter at dispensaries, pharmacies, health shops, and stores in Texas. CBD can also be purchased from numerous online stores that deliver to buyers. Because hemp-derived CBD is legal across the United States, it can be purchased just about anywhere. Persons who purchase CBD should ensure they obtain certificates of analysis from the retailers, to confirm the CBD content of the products.

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