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CBD oil in Texas:Legalities and ways to buy it?

Texas is one of those states in America that has displayed a stubborn, hard-nosed attitude towards the use of CBD oil and its sale. Here, CBD oil is still a legal grey area.

In fact, it has time and again, opted to defy the federal law, where the latter showed leniency towards the cannabinoid.

CBD oil in Texas

Any product that has even the slightest trace amounts of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol (a psychoactive chemical component of cannabis plants) is illegal in Texas.

CBD vendors generally assume it’s legal to sell it in Texas as their products contain only a miniscule amount of THC (less than what’s legal under the Texas Compassionate Use Act, i.e., less than 0.5% THC).

Besides, the federal law too indicates that CBD oil is legal across the country. It is only marijuana that has certain limitations in the state of Texas, among several other states.

However, can we still obtain CBD oil in Texas freely? Read on to find out.

Is CBD Oil Legal in Texas?

As per the 2018 Farm Bill, zero-THC CBD oil is legal in all of the 50 states of the United States. Zero-THC CBD oil is derived from hemp, and not marijuana that has higher levels of THC.

President Trump passed the 2018 Farm Bill (Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018) on December 12, 2018, declassifying hemp as a Schedule I substance, that is as long as the end product has less than 0.3% of THC in it. It has now been categorized under “agricultural commodities”.

In March this year, the Texas Department of State Health Services too made a preemptive move towards the same goal.

For you to better understand the specific legalities, we have broken them down here:

Texas Compassionate Use Act

Under the Texas Compassionate Use Act, only patients with intractable epilepsy may benefit from CBD in the form of Epidiolex, an FDA-approved CBD drug.

Being made from purified cannabidiol, this is an example of zero-THC CBD oil. This is why the Texas authorities have permitted its use in the state.

According to the Compassionate Use Act, only those patients who are suffering from intractable epilepsy and have already tried two FDA-approved treatments and failed to get relief from then can gain access to CBD oil.

Even then, the patients will have to get a recommendation for taking CBD oil from a certified physician who is listed on the state’s Compassionate Use Registry – which currently has only 20 doctors across the state.

“CBD oil is not legal in Texas and you do what you want with it at your own risk.”

~Luke Williams, criminal defense attorney for Barnett, Howard and Williams

The Texas Compassionate Use Act that was enacted in 2015 is the only exception that Texas made when it comes to use of CBD in this state.

The Act also mandates that the cannabis extract must contain more than 10% CBD and no more than 0.5% THC (both measured in weight).

Texas Controlled Substances Act

As per the Texas Controlled Substances Act, cannabis and all its plants and their derivatives as well as products from these plants are illegal in the state. This includes hemp, the plant from which zero-THC CBD is extracted.

In March this year, the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) amended the state’s schedule of controlled substances to remove hemp from the Schedule I status, bring it under the 2018 Farm Bill.

According to Shannon Edmonds, the director of governmental relations for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, in spite of the TDSHS’ move, CBD still does not get removed from the purview of Controlled Substances Act, making possessing it without a prescription still a crime.

“For regulatory purposes [and] for some medical purposes, the agency can change the legal status of it, but the agency cannot change the Controlled Substances Act, which makes something a criminal offense to possess or manufacture or deliver,” Edmonds adds.

What is zero-THC CBD oil?

According to the Compassionate Use Act (S.B. 339) that came into effect in Texas in 2015, zero/low-THC cannabis is defined as:

“…any part of [the Cannabis sativa L. plant] or any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, preparation, resin, or oil of that plant that contains:

  • Not more than 0.5% by weight of THC, and
  • Not less than 10% by weight of CBD”.

Rescheduling of CBD

Earlier in September 2018, the Drug Enforcement Administration had declassified only some CBD as a schedule 1 substance and rescheduled it as a Schedule 5 substance, empowering doctors to prescribe it to their patients. This includes Epidiolex, used for treating two specific types of epilepsy. [1]

Before this, they could recommend the plant, but not prescribe CBD as a drug.

Now, patients can get access to CBD directly from drug stores with a prescription, instead of from a marijuana dispensary or a designated marijuana caregiver like it was the case earlier.

However, Schedule 5 substances are still illegal if not prescribed. This rescheduling is also applicable to the state of Texas, which means, possessing CBD oil in Texas without a prescription can get you arrested, jailed and fined.

In spite of this restriction, a lot of retailers continue to sell them openly, while more outlets keep springing every now and then. Besides, online stores too mail them across Texas, as it is legal in most other states in the US.

Which Form of CBD is Legal in Texas?

Certain provisions have been put in place for CBD to be bought and sold freely and legally in the state by the Farm Bill of 2014. For CBD to be considered a Schedule 5 drug and not a Schedule 1 substance, the CBD extract must meet these provisions. They are:

  1. The CBD must be derived from hemp. CBD oil derived from marijuana contains higher levels of THC.
  2. The hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC. Such low levels of THC have negligible impact on humans.
  3. The hemp must adhere to the shared state-federal regulations. Each state has different cannabis laws.
  4. The hemp must be grown by a licensed grower. Texas House is all set to legalize hemp production in the state.

If these parameters aren’t met, then the CBD product will be considered as a Schedule 1 substance, making it completely illegal in Texas, i.e., not even a doctor can prescribe it.

Hemp Farming in Texas

Hemp farming could soon become a reality in Texas, as its legislators gave its green signal to the idea on April 23, 2019 [2].

With this Texas joins at least 42 other states where hemp production is legal.

Provisions of the Texas hemp bill are:

  1. The measure would allow CBD to be added to foods, drugs and cosmetics, as the bill states that cannabinoids from hemp are “not considered controlled substances or adulterants”.
  2. Texas can ban drug felons from participating in the hemp industry for 10 years.
  3. Texas retailers, who have been subjected to product seizures, would be protected under this legislation. As per the bill, retailers, selling CBD, will be given a “fair notice” of any CBD infractions before products are seized.
  4. Fees would be determined by the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Who Is “Qualified” To Use CBD Oil In Texas?

A patient can qualify for the Compassionate Use program and be recommended low-THC cannabis only if:

  1. A patient is a permanent resident of Texas
  2. The patient is diagnosed with intractable epilepsy
  3. A qualified physician, certified to prescribe the medication under the program, determines the risks of medical use of low-THC cannabis by the patient and finds it is lower than the potential benefits to the patient, and
  4. A second qualified physician (also certified) has concurred with the determination.

So, as far as the law stands in Texas, it is illegal to possess CBD oil, even in small amounts, unless and until you have been diagnosed with intractable epilepsy and have acquired a prescription for its use from two doctors certified under Texas Compassionate Use Registry.

If you don’t fulfill these parameters, you are not eligible to buy or possess CBD oil in Texas, irrespective of the circumstances. This means, if caught, conditions like pain, inflammation, anxiety disorders will not be considered as justified reasons for possession by the authorities.

However, the DEA has not particularly made it its priority to seize CBD products from retailers or consumers at the present time. Needless to say, however, it is safest to steer away from CBD oil if you are in Texas.

How To Get CBD Oil In Texas?

If you meet the parameters of a “qualified” patient, then a doctor, who is registered under the state’s Compassionate Use Program, can prescribe Epidiolex (the only FDA-approved CBD product) for your treatment.

You would also need the approval from two separate doctors to get access to CBD oil in Texas, which is quite a feat in itself, considering that there are only 20 doctors qualified to dispense such a drug across the entire state.

Once you have a prescription, you can buy your dose of CBD from traditional pharmaceutical channels, like drug store authorized to sell CBD products, that too only as per the dosage prescribed by your doctor.

No one else can legally gain access to any CBD product in any other way in Texas.

If you’re wondering whether you can still buy CBD oil, the answer is “well, yes, although that would not be legal in Texas”.

There are quite a few reputable online stores that sell and ship good quality CBD oil to all 50 states. They do so with the justification that zero -THC CBD oil is already legal as per the federal law.

But, you need to understand that under the 2018 Hemp Farming Act Texas still holds the authority to outlaw the use and sale of CBD oil, regardless of its legal status at the federal level.

In spite of its legal restrictions, the Texas authorities don’t seem to be in any hurry to make any arrests. But, that shouldn’t be the reason to let your guards down and stock up on CBD products.

It’s better to be safe, than sorry.

Is Selling CBD Legal in Texas?

Technically, only certain authorized pharmaceutical drug stores can stock and sell a specific CBD product – Epidiolex. Not even these licensed stores can legally stock or sell CBD oil in any other form.

Incidentally, only three dispensaries have received authorization from the Texas Department of Public Safety so far to grow and distribute CBD products under the Compassionate Use Program.

However, Texas has seen a recent rise in retail stores, selling CBD-infused products in the form of oils, drinks, gummies and other edibles. However, this is not being done legally, even if they claim otherwise.

Currently, a lot of store owners in Texas, who stock CBD products, run the risk of their products being confiscated and action taken against them.

In fact, now there is a good chance that the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) may no longer hold the authority over the management and penalty of retailers selling CBD-infused products in Texas.

Recently, there has been a push for bringing the Texas Department of Public Safety into the picture – something that has agitated a lot of store owners.

While FDA acknowledges the therapeutic potential of cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds and finds the significant interest in these possibilities justified, it also aware of the companies selling CBD-infused products, which violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and may put the health and safety of consumers at risk [3].

However, no arrests have yet been made by the Texas authorities for possessing, buying or selling CBD products from unauthorized stores.

Where to buy CBD oil in Texas?

Like we have mentioned earlier, legally buying CBD oil is only possible from the three authorized dispensaries where they sell CBD oil in the form of a prescription drug Epidiolex.

However, there are other ways of buying it in Texas. Online stores are an option, thus, you can get CBD oil shipped to Texas.

Another option is the range of large and small stores that have recently sprung up across the state, selling some of the most reputable brands of CBD products.

Some of these vetted brands are:

Final Thoughts

If you possess or sell CBD oil that contains even the slightest trace of THC in it, which is the main psychoactive component of cannabis, it is a felony drug charge, says local defense attorney Shane Phelps.

However, local reports have suggested that quite a few law enforcement officers too visit these so-called illegal stores to get their routine fix for their physical problems. These retailers sell CBD products with the confidence that the law indicates it is legal to sell cannabis oil having less than 0.5% THC and over 10% CBD.

However, not all law enforcement agents are on the same page on this. Quite a few police officers have maintained that they will arrest shop owners found guilty of stocking or selling CBD products, though no reports of such arrests have surfaced so far.

However, it is safe to say it is not safe for any Texas resident to buy, sell or possess CBD products in this state, unless:

  • You have been diagnosed with two rare forms of epilepsy (Dravet’s Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome)
  • You did not respond positively to at least two other FDA-approved drugs
  • Have approval to use CBD oil from at least two different doctors, qualified to prescribe medicinal marijuana.

In other words, not only do you have to suffer from one of the two rare forms of epilepsy to avail the benefits of CBD in Texas, but you must also get approval from a limited number of doctors, that too twice!

Besides, there are only three dispensaries in all of Texas that are eligible to sell the “low-THC/high-CBD” oil, defined under the Texas Compassionate Use Act.

The laws have made it almost impossible for an average person in Texas to get their hands on CBD oil for medicinal use. This situation has, instead of curbing its use, made people more prone to break the law and order it online or buy from unsanctioned offline stores.

Ironically, these stores, both online and offline, sell CBD oils that are low in THC (less than 0.3%), and are sourced from industrial hemp that makes them legal under the federal law, though not explicitly “legal” under Texas legislations.

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Reference links:

  1. Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Epilepsy: Hard Evidence at Last?
  2. Texas House gives hemp legalization initial OK, boosting odds for commercial industry; Hemp Industry Daily Published; April 23, 2019;
  3. FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products: Questions and Answers

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