Texas Supreme Court upholds ban on smokeable hemp being produced inside the state

The state will lose $1 million in tax revenue from one company alone due to the ban, its attorney said.

click to enlarge Four Texas hemp companies have been pursuing a court case to overturn the state's ban on smokable hemp products. - UnSplash / Elsa Olofsson
UnSplash / Elsa Olofsson
Four Texas hemp companies have been pursuing a court case to overturn the state's ban on smokable hemp products.
The Texas Supreme Court has reinstated a 2019 ban on smokable hemp, overriding a lower court's decision from last year that said companies could process and manufacture it here.

The unanimous decision last week by the all-Republican court swats down claims by four Texas-based hemp companies that a ban created by the state's Department of State Health Services was unconstitutional. However, the ruling doesn't prevent the sale of smokeable hemp products, so long as they're manufactured elsewhere.

“Considering the long history of the state’s extensive efforts to prohibit and regulate the production, possession and use of the Cannabis sativa L. plant, we conclude that the manufacture and processing of smokable hemp products is neither a liberty interest nor a vested property interest,” Justice Jeff Boyd wrote for the court.

The four companies who challenged the manufacturing ban said producers will have no choice but to leave the state, likely driving up prices. Wild Hempettes, the Dallas company that provided most of the money to bankroll the suit, has no interest in spending more money to keep up the fight, its attorney, Chelsie Spencer,  told the Dallas Observer.

“I would anticipate increased consumer costs for Texas products, simply because the state kicked them out this morning, and they all have to move now,” Spencer told the paper. “Most telling, our economic expert found that the state will lose $1 million in tax revenue from Wild Hempettes alone by 2024 by kicking them out.”

A 2021 report from Hemp Industry Daily estimated that the U.S. smokeable hemp market will reach $400 million in sales by 2025.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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