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Frequently Asked Legal Questions

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6449 views   |   7   |   Last updated on May 23, 2020    Criminal Law

Recent changes in both federal and Texas law regarding industrial hemp production have also affected the production and sale of CBD oil. These laws are currently being implemented in order to create a state industrial hemp program that allows for the legal cultivation of hemp and legal sale of “consumable hemp products” like CBD oil. The state industrial hemp laws require a license before one can cultivate industrial hemp, and they also require a license to sell consumable hemp products like CBD oil. This FAQ will briefly summarize these laws, but for more information, please see the CBD page of our Cannabis and the Law guide.

Cannabidiol is a substance derived from the cannabis plant that does not have the same psychoactive properties as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This article from the Harvard Health Blog provides more details about what cannabidiol is.

The law defines hemp as cannabis with a THC concentration of less than 0.3% by dry weight. The legal definition is more specific and can be found in section 121.001 of the Texas Agriculture Code.

At the federal level, H.R.2 Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (often referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill) became law on December 20th, 2018. This federal law defined hemp as cannabis with a THC concentration of less than 0.3% by dry weight and removed it from the federal controlled substances schedules.

Then in 2019, Texas House Bill 1325 passed during the 86th Regular Session and was signed by the governor on June 10th, 2019. This bill amended the Texas Agriculture Code and the Health & Safety Code in order to regulate the growth of industrial hemp and the sale of consumable hemp products like CBD oil.

Check out the CBD page of our Cannabis and the Law guide for more details and links to other resources related to cannabis.

The Dept. of Agriculture provides information about the license required to grow and cultivate hemp in Texas.

The Dept. of State Health Services provides information about consumable hemp products such as CBD oil and the license required to sell these products.

Prior to the 2019 state laws that legalized consumable hemp products, Texas had enacted the Compassionate-Use Act. This law allows for medical use of low-THC cannabis (less than 0.5% THC) for certain qualified patients. This law regulates who can produce low-THC cannabis and who may prescribe low-THC cannabis to certain patients.

House Bill 3703 from 2019 recently expanded the law to include more qualifying patients. This bill was signed by the governor on June 14, 2019, and became effective immediately. The new legislation now allows qualified physicians to prescribe low-THC marijuana to patients diagnosed with epilepsy, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, austism, terminal cancer, or an incurable neurodegenerative disease.

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) regulates dispensaries authorized by the Compassionate-Use Act. DPS has provided answers to frequently asked questions about the Compassionate-Use Program on their website.

For more details, see the Compassionate-Use Program page of our Cannabis and the Law guide.

Outside the provisions set out in the Texas Compassionate-Use Act, our librarians have not been able to locate any Texas statutes that address the use of medical marijuana.

Recreational use of marijuana is still illegal under Texas and federal law. Federal penalties for possession of a controlled substance are found in United States Code, Title 21, Section 844.

The Texas Controlled Substances Act (Health and Safety Code, Ch. 481) defines marijuana (spelled "marihuana") and sets criminal penalties for possession, delivery, and delivery to a child.

Marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug in the federal Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S. Code, Sec. 812).

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