Floweret MD

TCUP goes to governor, hemp/concentrates: conference committee

hb 1535 tcup medical marijuana

HB 1535, TCUP, by Rep Stephanie Klick will be going to the governor’s desk without debate, while HB3948 (Hemp) and HB 2593 (concentrates) will be going to a conference committee per the authors’ request.

Rep. Stephanie Klick did not go against the amendments in the Senate regarding TCUP. The new revision of the bill with conditions removed and a lowered cap, will not go to the conference committee. This means that both chamber’s leaders will sign off on the bill and it is on its way to Gov. Abbott’s desk.

Heather Fazio told the Texas Tribune the following,

Heather Fazio, director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, lamented that the proposal in its final form was “unreasonably restrictive,” despite wide bipartisan support for legalizing cannabis.

“While we are glad to see the Compassionate Use Program being expanded, it’s disappointing to see Texas inching forward while other states, like Alabama for example, are moving forward with real medical cannabis programs,” Fazio said. “It’s doing so little and we wish [lawmakers] were doing more.”

Watered-down expansion of Texas’ medical marijuana program poised to become law

TCUP expansion passed with a 31-0 vote, the bill took a little more than two minutes from start to finish. There was no discussion taken on the bill similar to what was seen with the expansion of TCUP in 2019

HB 3948 and HB 2593

Both bills will be going to a conference committee to resolve amendments added to the language of the bills in the Senate by Senator Perry.

HB 3948 will make the research at colleges cheaper and easier to conduct, extend the testing time before harvest for crops, add animal feed as a commodity, clear up guidance on negligence penalties, as well as set standards for what could be labeled or branded as Texas hemp.

The most controversial part of the language for the industry rested with restrictions on lab-derived isomers of CBD to include delta-8 THC. A previous article outlines the language that is to be brought forward for the conference committee, in hopes that Rep King would go with that language. If the language is not removed, it is a possibility that Senator Perry and led by Lt Gov Dan Patrick of Senate will not approve of HB 2593 unless language targeting delta-8 is in the hemp bill. Hemp advocates across the industry are torn as the bill contains a massive amount of great language that will help the farmers, but could kill off a good number of retail storefronts.

The retail stores specializing in hemp products such as hemp oil extracts and CBD have seen a massive boost in sales from products containing delta-8 for consumption. Several retailers have spoken out on social media that delta-8 sales have been what has kept their retail stores open during the hard times of the recent pandemic and has been keeping people employed. Closing these retail avenues would result in massive tax losses for the state and unemployment numbers to go as the state tries to recover from 2020 economic losses.

HB 2593 by Representative Moody of El Paso faces the same dilemma. Moody has opted to go to a conference committee to fight the amendments added in the Senate. HB 2593 would reduce penalties for cannabis concentrates and infused products. The bill deals with concentrates of up to 2 oz of tetrahydrocannabinols.

As TFRMP stated in an action email, “They’ll meet sometime today and their report must be filed by TONIGHT at midnight. Then the House and Senate must vote on and agree to the conference committee report by tomorrow at midnight. “

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