Texas Supreme Court Rules Smokable Hemp Cannot Be Processed, Manufactured in the State

Possessing, purchasing and selling smokable hemp remains legal under the ruling.

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Texas has wrestled with regulating smokable hemp for almost two years, but the state’s Supreme Court provided clarity June 24 when it ruled that while individuals can possess, purchase and sell smokable hemp in Texas, they cannot process or manufacture it in the state.

According to the Dallas Observer, Friday’s Supreme Court ruling is the result of a months-long legal battle between the Texas Department of State Health Services; its commissioner, John Hellerstedt; and four hemp companies: Crown Distributing, American Juice, Co., Custom Botanical Dispensary and 1937 Apothecary.

Wild Hempettes provided the majority of financial support for the lawsuit, the Dallas Observer reported.

After the 2018 Farm Bill passed to federally legalize hemp, the Texas Legislature passed a regulatory framework for the industry in the form of House Bill 1325, which put the Department of State Health Services in charge of the state’s consumable hemp program, according to the news outlet.

One of the department’s rules prohibited the processing, manufacturing, distribution and sale of smokable hemp in Texas, and hemp companies sued to challenge the ban. The plaintiffs claimed the ban violates the state constitution because it would force them to leave the state to conduct business, which would harm them financially and even force them to shut down.

RELATED: Texas Judge Rules State’s Smokable Hemp Ban Unconstitutional

In its ruling, the Texas Supreme Court wrote that “protected work-related interests” are limited, according to the Dallas Observer, and that while the state constitution lays out the right to “engage in any of the common occupations of life” or “pursue a lawful calling, business or profession," those rights do not extend to companies seeking to manufacture and process smokable hemp because they have “never been interpreted to protect a right to work in fields our society has long deemed ‘inherently vicious and harmful.’”

Ritter Spencer PLLC attorney Chelsie Spencer, who represented the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, told the Dallas Observer that the Supreme Court’s ruling is likely the end of the case.

“Wild Hemp is unwilling to expend any more money on this,” she said. “They funded this case entirely and are now being kicked out of their home state."

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