SAN ANTONIO — The smoking of legal cannabis in Texas may go on. But as of this Sunday, stores that sell hemp flowers can only sell consumable versions of the plant.
By state regulations, consuming does not include smoking.
“I think we’re going to lose some sales,” Alex Reyes said.
Reyes is a manager for Mary Jane’s CBD Dispensary-Smoke & Vape Shop. He said 30% of their business comes from the sales of smokable cannabis. The business owner added to the store's tobacco supply to stave off an expected dropoff in sales elsewhere once the new hemp laws take effect.
“But I don’t think it’s the biggest impact,” Reyes said. “The biggest impact is to our patients and guests that come in here.”
According to Reyes, their clientele seeks out relief from the various versions of the low-THC-level products of cannabis for evetything from anxiety to pain relief. Texas regulates it at 0.3%. Users of the industrial hemp said they yield the most significant results from smoking the herb. Other intake means, they said, take longer.
“It’s the most convenient way to ingest CBD and get the benefits of all the cannabinoids for,” Reyes said. “Now, it’s not going to be an option.
Governor Greg Abbott made the production, manufacturing, retail sell, and the inspection of industrial hemp crops legal in Texas in June 2019.
To safeguard and regulate the process, the Texas Department of State Health Services will implement the new changes filed into the Texas Register on July 13.
DSHS will establish hemp manufacturing licenses, create retail hemp registration for consumable products and work with the Department of Public Safety to test the products at retail sites.
The department did not respond to multiple requests about the scheduled changes set for August 2.
Changes to the legality of smokable hemp in Texas only applies to retail sales in any form. The plant can still be grown, manufactured and sold in consumable forms at the same stores.
Heather Fazio, executive director for Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, said the state was overstepping with these regulations into reefer madness.
“Instead of allowing sound evidence to guide them, they’re allowing fear and misinformation to do that,” she said. “That’s what we’ve seen for decades—and sadly, it’s still in place.”
The same hemp products will still be on the shelf on Sunday. But the items, legally, cannot be marketed or sold as a smokable product.
Although they could, technically, be smoked.
“I mean, this is America, you know. Whatever you choose to do when you leave my store is up to you,” Reyes said.
The law also allows consumers to order the cannabis online and have it delivered to any doorstep.
“This is bad for business," Fazio said. "This is bad for safety and making sure that there’s accountability for the products consumers are purchasing."