Texas ban on smokable hemp tossed, opening potential $400 million market

Texas’ ban on smokable hemp was discarded Monday in a watershed decision which means the hemp market in the state could generate $400 million in annual sales by 2025.

Judge Lora Livingston in Austin sided with numerous hemp companies that opposed the 2019 ban passed by Texas lawmakers.

The judge’s decision jettisons both that law and a subsequent rule from the Texas health department that sought to enforce it.

The decision opens the door to significant opportunities for hemp manufacturers in Texas.

The ban only applied to the manufacture of smokable hemp, not its use, so Texans were regularly crossing state lines or purchasing it online, said Chelsie Spencer, a Dallas-Fort Worth attorney who also represented hemp plaintiffs.

Smokable hemp goods are divisive because they have a comparable look and smell to other cannabis products but release hemp-CBD much more quickly. Because of this, smokable hemp-CBD products represent a considerable share of the overall hemp-CBD market.

Analytics giant NielsenIQ predicts that the smokable hemp market in the U.S. will grow to $300 million or $400 million by 2025. (This prediction was made last year, while the Texas ban was still in place.)

Hemp supporters say the overturning of the Texas ban could inspire similar decisions in other states that ban smokable hemp, such as Indiana, a state in which hemp manufacturers still await a decision on their own challenge to a 2019 smokable hemp ban.

Texas had 1,103 hemp growers and 71 licensed hemp processors last year, according to the 2021 Hemp & CBD Industry Factbook.

Wild Hempettes LLC financed the legal challenge in Texas, Spencer said.

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