How Has Texas’ Cannabis Law Evolved Over Time?

The legal landscape for cannabis, CBD, and other cannabis-related products has undergone significant changes in the United States over the past decade. In Texas, these changes are particularly notable, as outlined in various resources and legal guides.

The Texas State Law Library, a public law library serving the legal research needs of Texas, provides comprehensive information on the topic. One of their key resources, the “Cannabis and the Law Guide” (Texas State Law Library), offers insight into the evolving legal status of cannabis and marijuana in Texas.

Under Texas law, specifically the Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 481, tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) are classified in penalty group 2, impacting criminal penalties. Sections 481.120 and 481.121 of this code make the delivery and possession of marijuana a criminal offense, with varying degrees of severity based on the amount possessed. Additionally, Section 481.122 criminalizes the knowing delivery of marijuana to individuals younger than 18 years of age.

Texas’s Compassionate Use Program (CUP) (Texas Medical Marijuana) allows certain physicians to prescribe low-THC cannabis for medical purposes. The program specifies that all parts of the Cannabis Sativa L. plant and any derivatives containing no more than 0.5% by weight of THC are considered legal for medical use.

The federal government’s stance on marijuana enforcement has also seen changes. In 2018, the Department of Justice issued a statement rescinding previous guidelines on federal marijuana enforcement policy, emphasizing the enforcement of laws enacted by Congress.

Recent developments in marijuana law (CRS Reports and CRS Reports) highlight the growing policy gap between federal and state regulation. This gap is particularly evident in the recreational use of marijuana, with 21 states, DC, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands enacting laws allowing recreational marijuana as of March 1, 2023 (Recreational Use – Cannabis and the Law).

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Additionally, recent legislation in Texas, such as H.R. 2 and House Bill 1325, has been passed to regulate the growth of hemp with a THC concentration of less than 0.3% by dry weight.

Texas Cannabis Law Evolution

This evolving legal landscape reflects the changing attitudes and policies towards cannabis and marijuana in Texas and the United States at large.

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