Understanding Texas Cannabis Laws: Medical Use, Possession, and Hemp Regulations

The legal landscape for cannabis, including medical marijuana and hemp, in Texas has undergone significant changes, presenting complexities for residents. This overview provides insight into the state’s current cannabis laws and their implications.

Texas Medical Marijuana and the Compassionate Use Program
Texas’s Compassionate Use Program (CUP) allows certain physicians to prescribe low-tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) cannabis for medical purposes. Under this program, low-THC cannabis, derived from the plant Cannabis Sativa L., is defined as all parts of the plant and any resulting compounds, salts, resins, oils, and derivatives that contain no more than 0.5% by weight of THC. This regulation is delineated in Chapter 169 of the Texas Occupations Code, which enables qualified physicians to prescribe low-THC cannabis to patients with certain conditions. For more detailed information on the Compassionate Use Program, visit the Texas State Law Library.

Criminal Offenses Related to Marijuana Possession and Delivery
In Texas, the possession and delivery of marijuana are considered criminal offenses, with the severity depending on the amount possessed. Sections 481.120 and 481.121 of the Texas Health and Safety Code classify the delivery and possession of marijuana as criminal acts. Furthermore, Section 481.122 emphasizes the gravity of delivering a controlled substance, including marijuana, to individuals younger than 18 years. For more on the legal implications of marijuana use in Texas, consult the Cannabis and the Law guide.

The Legal Status of CBD and Industrial Hemp in Texas
Following legislative changes in 2019, Texas established a state industrial hemp program. This program permits the growth of industrial hemp (defined as the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including seeds, derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, etc., with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis). Prior to these changes, Texas’s Compassionate-Use Act had already legalized the medical use of low-THC cannabis (less than 1% THC) for certain qualified patients. This law governs the production of low-THC cannabis and its prescription to eligible patients. For a comprehensive understanding of CBD and hemp regulations in Texas, refer to the CBD & Industrial Hemp guide.

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Impact of New Laws Effective from September 1, 2023
Numerous bills passed during the 88th Texas Legislative Session took effect on September 1, 2023. Among these are laws pertinent to cannabis regulation. To stay updated on these new laws, visit the Texas State Law Library.

State vs. Federal Cannabis Law
It’s crucial to understand the differences between state and federal law regarding cannabis. In 2018, the Department of Justice issued a statement rescinding the previous DOJ memo, which had established guidelines for federal marijuana enforcement policy. This means that U.S. Attorneys are required to enforce laws enacted by Congress, creating a complex interplay between state and federal regulations. For more on this, explore the State vs. Federal Law guide.

Understanding Texas Cannabis Laws

Navigating the evolving legal landscape of cannabis in Texas requires understanding these key aspects, including the Compassionate Use Program, criminalization of marijuana possession and delivery, regulations surrounding CBD and industrial hemp, new legislative developments, and the dichotomy between state and federal laws.

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