As Texas agriculture commissioner, I am responsible for the licensing of more than 850 entities that currently grow, handle, sample, or process hemp in Texas, writes Sid Miller, Texas Agriculture Commissioner. Hemp and cannabis are two different names for the flowering plant known as cannabis. The legal difference between the two is the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. THC is what gives the ‘high’ feeling people associate with cannabis. By law, cannabis has a concentration of THC that is 0.3 percent or higher. Hemp has a concentration of THC that is 0.3 percent or lower by dry weight.

It is our overall state policy on cannabis that I will focus on today as I share my thoughts with my fellow Texans. In a free society, the government should only make something illegal for a powerful reason or set of facts. The freedom of the people to make their own choices and decisions is a fundamental principle of a true democracy.

The history of cannabis prohibition reflects the failed alcohol prohibition of the 1920s. Complete with gangs, corruption, and widespread violence against the lives and liberties of American citizens.

As I look back, I believe that cannabis prohibition came from a place of fear, not from medical science or the analysis of social harm. Sadly, the roots of this came from a history of racism, classism, and a large central government with an authoritarian desire to control others. It is as anti-American in its origins as could be imaginable.

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