On this week’s edition of Big Country Politics, News Director Manny Diaz spoke with Texas Agricultural Commissioner Sid Miller about challenges facing agriculture and the legalization of medical cannabis in Texas. Miller is an eight-generation farmer and rancher who won his third term in office last November.
The 2019 state bill that legalized hemp in Texas had high expectations for farmers, but Miller said many are switching to a fiber product for various reasons.
“We started out growing hemp for CBD oil. Typical farmers saw a lot of profit in doing that. So we planted.. we have too much hemp than we need. So, the price is plummeting. The pivot is going to fiber. We’re switching from an oil product to a fiber product, and that’s the long-term place for hemp, and in my opinion, it fits traditional farming much better. It’s not as labor intensive. One farmer can grow a whole pivot of fiber hemp harvested just like we do, put it on a truck, and send it to the mail. What they do is they make fiber out of it, and not CBD. All that fiber has turned into over 2,000 products. They can be hempcrete building blocks; it can be rope, canvas, or car interiors. The list goes on and on and on,” Miller shared.
During last year’s election, Miller was interested in expanding the legalization of medical cannabis, something he believes should be up to the doctor and patient.
“What it is, and let me explain, my opponent was for full-fledged recreational use of cannabis. I’m not for that. But I am for medical use for compassionate use for anything. We have so much good science now. And we know what diseases it can treat, yet our legislature picks winners [and] losers. If you’ve got this disease, you can get treated, if you got this disease, and cannabis will help if you can’t get treated. So we need to get out of that business. We need to let the doctor-patient relationship let those doctors make those medical decisions and not some bureaucrat or some politician. That’s my position, and hopefully, they expand it a little bit each time; it gets better and better. But we still don’t have full-on use of medical cannabis,” Miller explained.
He added that he believes medical cannabis will become legal in Texas, with each legislative session drawing it closer.
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