AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas farmers will soon be able to tap into a lucrative and popular crop.
- State legislation signed to legalize hemp production
- Federal government still needs to assign rules
- Law also expands availability of hemp products
Governor Greg Abbott signed legislation legalizing hemp production in the state. While the law takes effect immediately, farmers will still have to wait awhile before they can sow any seeds.
Peter Grant is a farmer from Texas, but has a hemp field in Wisconsin where he can legally cash in on the crop.
"Well, as a farmer from Texas who is now planting in Wisconsin, I'm excited to come back to Texas to plant in my home state." -- Peter Grant, Texas farmer.
Mark Loeffler with the Texas Department of Agriculture said they're on standby, waiting for the federal government to make a move.
"The federal government has to actually issue rules about what a potential hemp program in the states might look like," said Loeffler.
States that allow hemp farming already, like Wisconsin, are actually operating under a pilot program of the 2018 Farm Bill.
Once the official program takes effect, Texas will come up with one of its own, allowing farmers to grow hemp as an industrial crop, including procedures for sampling, inspection and testing.
"We're going to do the absolute bare minimum in terms of regulation. We want this to be a clean, simple program," said Loeffler.
It is a refreshing message for Grant who said he's anxious for official growing rules to be put in place.
"So that farmers in Texas can apply for licenses and get their plants in the ground as soon as possible, before this commodity pops," said Grant.
Loeffler said they're on track to have regulations in place by next spring's seeding season. The new law also expands the kind of hemp products that can be legally purchased in Texas, including CBD products containing less than 0.3 percent of THC: the psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants.