The Texas Supreme Court has accepted to review a case that is challenging the state’s ban on smokable hemp and scheduled oral arguments for March 2022, according to the High Times.
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) filed a statement of jurisdiction with the state’s highest civil court on December 3rd. The state’s Supreme Court announced on December 17 that it agreed to hear opposing arguments for the case.
The appeal was filed against a ruling from Judge Lora Livingston that placed a permanent injunction prohibiting the DSHS from enforcing a ban on smokable hemp that was passed in 2019. The Texas judge made the ruling last August.
“Based on the entire record in this case, the Court concludes that Texas Health and Safety Code Section 443.204(4) is not rationally related to a legitimate governmental interest,” Livingston stated in a written final judgment. “In addition, based on the entire record in this case, the real-world effect of Texas Health and Safety Code Section 443.204(4) is so burdensome as to be oppressive in light of any legitimate government interest.”
Four hemp companies, Crown Distributing LLC, America Juice Co. LLC, Custom Botanical Dispensary, LLC, and 1937 Apothecary LLC, sued the DSHS and Commissioner John Hellerstedt over the 2019 legislation that bans the “manufacture, processing, distribution, or retail sale of consumable hemp products for smoking.”
Zachary Maxwell is the president of the Texas Hemp Growers Association and was one of the groups following the case.
“Today’s ruling is a major win for Texas’ hemp industry, and may set a new standard in similar cases across the country. The attorneys behind the Texas Hemp Legal Defense Fund fought hard, and brought fact-based arguments to the courtroom and proved the undeniable financial harm caused by this cavalier ban,” Maxwell said in a press release after the ruling from Judge Covington.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp on the federal level as long it contains less than 0.3% THC. A year later, Governor Abbot and Texas lawmakers established a hemp program in the state, which included banning smokable hemp.
Although smokable hemp is banned in Texas, the state recently expanded its medical marijuana program for people experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder and cancer.
With oral arguments scheduled for next year, Texas residents will keep an eye on the case before they can freely consume smokeable hemp in joint rolling papers.