Yesterday the Governor, Lt Governor, Speaker of the House and Attorney General issued a joint letter regarding the prosecution for possession of marijuana and hemp. The letter directly addresses Texas District and County Attorneys who have recently dismissed marijuana possession cases and/or announced that they will not prosecute misdemeanor marijuana possession cases without a lab test. In the letter, they claim that “these actions demonstrate a misunderstanding of how H.B. 1325 works.” They go on to lay out the differences in the definition for hemp and marijuana and the new regulation that are being enacted to legally grow hemp products in Texas.
The letter says that all marijuana laws are still on the books and enforceable. They go on to lay out a new charge that DAs can use to penalize people in Texas for possession of hemp.
“If a person is transporting hemp but has no certificate, you may now prosecute that person for the offense of failing to have a hemp certificate. This certificate is required of any person transporting hemp plant material in Texas. If they have a certificate, which the Department has yet to promulgate, then it’s a fake—which is a felony.”
They warn that Texans “may continue to be prosecuted for possession of marijuana and may now be prosecuted for illegal possession of hemp without a proper certificate.”
It is of note that they did not address the issue of interstate commerce, which was explicitly outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill. The 2018 Farm Bill explicitly dictates that states may not interfere with the transportation or shipment of industrial hemp.
We will continue to follow this story and keep you updated as it develops. Read the full letter here.