Pot industry pleads its case against potential Texas CBD ban

Sarah Shebanek, wellness buyer for Alfalfa's, ...

RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post

Sarah Shebanek, wellness buyer for Alfalfa’s, works with the CBD oil supplements the store sells on Dec. 4, 2017 in Boulder.

DENVER — A month after a Texas health agency proposed cracking down on CBD, the cannabis industry is actively trying to change the minds of health authorities about CBD to keep the products on shelves throughout the state.

The confusion started in March, when the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) announced a draft plan to yank CBD products from shelves — even if they contain no THC and aren’t marijuana derivatives.

Public comment on the issue has closed. The final decision will be made by the agency’s commissioner, Dr. John Hellerstedt.

A spokeswoman for the agency told Hemp Industry Daily that CBD is an adulterant that can’t be added to foods and is not a legal nutritional supplement.

“The DEA lists CBD and THC as controlled substances,” Lara Anton wrote in an email.

Anton said Texas health authorities haven’t made any decisions yet about how to deal with CBD being sold online from out-of-state entities.

Robert Hoban, a prominent Denver-based cannabis attorney with clients who make CBD, sent a letter to the health department warning that enacting the proposal would do “devastating and irreparable” damage to the emerging hemp industry.

“Implementation of the protocol would cause Texas to fall far behind the rest of the nation for years to come in its treatment and regulation of the products,” Hoban wrote.

In addition, a lawyer representing the Texas Cannabis Industry Association (TCIA) questioned whether the health department, which did not participate in discussions about the state’s new low-THC medical marijuana program, was the right agency to make such a decision.

“Due to its nonexistent involvement throughout the legislative process . (the agency) lacks the education and understanding of how CBD and THC from hemp products should be regulated,” attorney Richard Cheng said.

Anton told Hemp Industry Daily that the health agency has detained CBD products in the past, but she did not elaborate or say whether anyone was charged with a crime.

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