A judge in Texas district court has ruled that the state’s ban on smokable hemp products is unconstitutional. Judge Lora Livingston of the 261st District Court ruled in favor of a group of hemp businesses who sued the Texas Department of State Health Services over a ban on the manufacturing and selling of smokable cannabis products. The ban was imposed after hemp was legalized in 2019. Now, many businesses will not have to move out of state to continue their operations.
The plaintiffs argued successfully that HB-1325 — which banned the in-state manufacture of smokable hemp, but not the possession, consumption or importation of smokable hemp from other states — was unconstitutional because it was not related to any legitimate government interest. The products were allowed in the state as long as they weren’t produced by Texas businesses.
“Every issue raised by the pleadings was tried and argued at the trial on the merits,” the judge wrote. “Because the second amended petition conforms to the trial, I render judgment in this matter without additional evidence or hearing. Judgment is granted to the Plaintiffs.”
State hemp farmers, who had been banned from growing or manufacturing smokable hemp products, were ecstatic. “Today’s ruling is a major win for Texas’ hemp industry, and may set a new standard in similar cases across the country,” Zachary Maxwell, president of Texas Hemp Growers, said. “The attorneys behind the Texas Hemp Legal Defense Fund fought hard, brought fact-based arguments to the courtroom, and proved the undeniable financial harm caused by this cavalier ban.”
Though it is still illegal in the state, citizen support for marijuana legalization continues to grow. A new survey found only 13% of voters opposed legalization, and that 9 of 10 voters want some kind of legalization, which means it’s no longer a partisan issue.
Though no action has been taken yet, advocates are expecting the state to appeal the case to a higher court.
Read the full decision here.
This piece was originally published by Marijuana Moment and has been edited or modified by The News Station.