It seems like you can't throw a stone these days without hitting a business advertising CBD products for sale. Given that most people hadn't heard of this compound a decade ago, its prevalence today can feel overwhelming. For those not totally familiar with the term, CBD is an acronym for a cannabinoid, one of the active compounds in cannabis, also called marijuana.
Cannabidiol is the cannabinoid also known as CBD, and people extol its many potential medical benefits, ranging from seizure suppression to anxiety reduction. Some people even claim that the right CBD products could help with severe, chronic pain or even autism symptoms.
Before you fork over a bunch of money for a tincture or some medicated gummy bears at a video rental shop or gas station, you want to know that the products you purchase won't leave you at any kind of legal risk for drug charges in Texas. After all, the state has notoriously harsh laws about marijuana in general.
Texas never specifically legalized CBD
The first thing you need to understand is that Texas has not legalized CBD for the general public to use. There is a medical law in place, but it only applies to those with intractible seizures. However, efforts by federal legislators to decriminalize CBD in the 2018 Farm Bill impact Texas residents. As long as the CBD product you purchase meets certain standards, it is, in theory, legal to possess anywhere in the United States, including in Texas.
The specific limit most people need to be aware of it is on the other very popular cannabinoid in marijuana. That compound, known as THC, is responsible for the euphoric effects of marijuana, which is why it remains included in the federal schedule of controlled substances. CBD products have to have very little or no THC in them in order to meet the federal standards for legal use and possession.
Unfortunately, the complication comes from the fact that THC almost always occurs in marijuana plants producing high levels of CBD. The product you purchase has to have less than 0.3% THC in order for its to comply with federal law and therefore Texas law. If the THC percentage is higher, you could wind up charged by Texas law enforcement officers with a drug possession crime.
Texas has legalized industrial hemp, which may change laws in the future
Following the federal passage of a farm bill allowing for farmers to grow cannabis plants with low levels of THC, Texas has put state-level laws in place for the same purpose. As more Texas farmers explore this potentially profitable plant, it is likely that the state will create its own rules and regulations regarding the distribution, purchase and consumption of CBD products. For the time being, the federal standard is the one that matters.