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Texas hemp bill filed at last minute

A crop of hemp ready to be harvested.

A bill to legalize industrial hemp was filed a day before the deadline to submit legislation in Texas House of Representatives.

Filed by Rep. Bill Zedler, a Republican from Arlington, HB 3587 would allow licensed Texas farmers to grow hemp, a product which can be bought and consumed for a number of uses already.

A licensing fee will be set by the Texas Department of Agriculture upon passage, and it also allows the department and institutions of higher education to grow the plant for research purposes.

Licensing requirements will also be set by the department, however also prescribed by the bill will be that holders provide global positioning system coordinates for each location where hemp will be grown, cultivated, or any sites where they intend to grow.

The bill will likely be sent to the Agriculture & Livestock Committee in the near future.

A similar bill was filed during the 2015 legislative session, and while advocate say they had enough votes secured to pass the bill out of committee, it was never scheduled for a vote.

Hemp was made illegal at the same time marijuana was due to both plants being in the cannabis family. Unlike marijuana, hemp has a low THC content, meaning that it is impossible to get high from it. Additionally, fears raised during the 2015 session about marijuana growers hiding their crop in or near hemp fields were unfounded, as a hemp crop would destroy the potency of any nearby marijuana grows.

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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