Sid Miller, Commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), announced that the Texas Hemp Program outline has been sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for approval. This document, and the changes to state rules that establish the new program, must be approved and finalized before TDA can begin granting licenses to legally grow hemp in Texas.
“This is another step closer on the road to legalized industrial hemp in Texas,” said Miller. “I anticipate that the USDA will approve our plan quickly, but this does not mean it is legal to grow hemp yet. We still must finalize our state rules and get our licensing program up and running first.”
“We will have a Texas hemp licensing program by early next year,” Miller confirmed.
The plan sent to the USDA encompasses the federal requirements for a state hemp program, and follows state law with corresponding references to forthcoming rules outlining the Texas hemp program. These rules will be published for public comment soon. A thirty-day public comment period will follow, after which the rules can be changed or adopted. Once the rules take effect, the department can begin issuing licenses.
Miller also announced that a public hearing on the hemp rules will be held after the first of the year. Details of this public meeting are forthcoming.
Commissioner Miller has been a staunch advocate for legalizing industrial hemp as a new economic opportunity for Texas farmers. The Texas Legislature passed legislation earlier in 2019 directing the TDA to establish a hemp licensing program.
For more information on the upcoming hemp program, visit the TDA website here.
Source: Texas Department of Agriculture