The Texas Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on the smokable hemp ban lawsuit on Tuesday morning at 10 a.m.
Texans in the hemp and cannabis space have been waiting since December of 2021 to know when the state’s highest civil court would hold a hearing on the issue. The case of Texas Department of State Health Services et al. v. Crown Distributing LLC et al., case number 21-1045, will be heard by the state’s newest seating of Supreme Court court judges elected into office in at the end of 2021.
The case started back at the late half of 2020 with DSHS putting smokable hemp rules and regulation in place on the basis that the state had banned the manufacture of the item. The state equated the ban on the manufacture of smokable hemp products in HB 1325 to a ban on the sale. Asserting it was the intent of that bill. Attorneys for the state implied that HB 1325 does this and DSHS is only making it explicitly known.
Lead attorney on the case Eldred put forth, “If they smoke a joint of hemp on the street then cops can’t arrest people smoking marijuana on the streets.”
Hemp businesses see it as a constitutional intrusion that makes no sense and almost unenforceable due to the nature of the plant and the fact that it can be sold from out of state into Texas.
Susan Hays, an attorney involved on the case, stated, “It’s based on a conservative legal principle of economic liberty. If they stay intellectually consistent on that, we win.”
Hays noted that the case was not going to the appeals court because a direct appeal had been filed over constitutionality issues. That the some absurd things were that the state was comparing people selling hemp to the legality of someone being confused for selling cocaine when they possess a white powder on them. Or that the legislature just has the power to unilaterally ban any item it sees fit regardless of constitutionality, so it could ban a smokable product.
The hemp plant from the the moment it begins sprouting out of the ground is technically a smokable plant. This would equate to manufacturing a smokable product if t is allowed to grow into a mature plant with flowers.
DSHS also admitted during hearings that the state is not going to prevent any company from moving out of state to create the products and then ship them to people that order them online from within Texas.
Economists that testified at the initial oral arguments show that an analysis of the business sector involving smokable hemp products was predicted to grow up to $400 million in annual sales by the year 2025.
The case is second on the docket and will be streamed live on YouTube for those interested in watching. Just click the linked text to reach the SCOTX YouTube channel.