PFLUGERVILLE, Texas — The Texas Department of State Health Services updated its website on Oct. 15, clarifying that delta-8 THC products are illegal in Texas. The change came as a surprise to CBD stores across the state. 

“We thought that we had at least another couple years before anything would happen,” Barrett Smith, owner of CBD American Shaman in Pflugerville, said.  

While his customers who rely on it are his number one concern, he says he’s at a risk of losing revenue. Delta-8 THC accounts for almost 40% of his overall sales. 

“I'm a young business owner,” Barrett said. “This store is three years old. I've got 10,000 in inventory that I can't do anything with. I'm technically a felon for holding it right now with my understanding of the law, so it's definitely worrisome.”

Barrett says to his knowledge it’s been a legal substance under the 2018 federal Farm Bill. He started selling delta-8 THC at his store about a year ago. Now all his products are locked in cabinets. 

“We've had customers leave the store crying,” Barrett said. “It's unfortunate. It breaks my heart to send them away, but we absolutely have to. We can't risk criminal charges.” 

“It is helping folks that are suffering from medical conditions like PTSD, arthritis, anxiety, sleep disorders,” said Zachary Maxwell, the president of Texas Hemp Growers, an association for Texas farmers, processors, retailers and consumers of hemp and hemp byproducts. Maxwell says the Texas Department of State Health Services followed legal guidelines, choosing a different list than the federal government on what’s considered a controlled substance. It lists delta-8 THC as a Schedule I controlled substance. 

“Whether or not we agree with this, the reality is they followed the procedure to get that done,” Maxwell said.  

In an email response to Spectrum News 1, the Department of State Health Services says it hasn’t made any changes to the Controlled Substances schedule related to THC since it was published in March 2021. Only recently updating their website in response to confusion from the Hemp industry. 

Barrett says now he’ll have to make do selling the CBD products that remain on his shelves, hoping customers keep coming in his doors. 

“I have to depend on the community to support my business.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story attributed the final quote to Mr. Maxwell, when it was, in fact, Mr. Barrett. (October 28,2021)