By Justin Walker
Communications Specialist

Texas farmers will now be able to grow industrial hemp.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 1325, a bill with bipartisan support, into law June 10, officially legalizing the crop to be grown in Texas.

“This is a significant win for Texas farmers in this legislative session,” Billy Howe, Texas Farm Bureau associate director of Government Affairs, said. “It only makes sense for the state to allow our farmers to grow crops the federal government deems legal.”

The bill, authored by Rep. Tracy King (D-Uvalde) and sponsored by Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), passed unanimously in the House and Senate before arriving at Abbott’s desk. HB 1325 both legalizes and creates regulations for the growing and processing of hemp, Howe noted.

Industrial hemp—which contains less than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive element in marijuana—was legalized at the federal level in December 2018 as part of the farm bill. Hemp products were already allowed to be sold and consumed in Texas, but state law prohibited farmers from growing the crop.

HB 1325 creates a production plan and state hemp program, allowing Texas to comply with the 2018 Farm Bill provision.

“The hemp industry is a growing market, and Texas farmers now have an opportunity to participate in it,” Howe said.

Farmers interested in growing hemp must participate in the program in order to cultivate, handle or process the crop.

“Industrial hemp has multiple uses, and the climate in Texas is well suited for growing it,” Howe said. “This will give Texas farmers another viable crop in their rotation, which is especially important with a struggling farm economy.”

The Texas Department of Agriculture is required to submit a plan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to outline the state’s plan for monitoring and regulating the production of industrial hemp.

The Texas Department of Health and Human Services will oversee the processing of products for consumption.