CBD Oil Legality Up To Legislators, State Health Department, Tarrant County District Attorney Says

Tarrant DA says her office does not expect to spend significant resources on cases involving CBD oil

The Tarrant County District Attorney's Office issued a statement on the legality of CBD oil in Texas Tuesday following a series of reports last week by NBC 5 Investigates.

Tarrant County DA Sharen Wilson said her office was asked to clarify the law and that current state statute only allows CBD oil to be used by epileptics who have a doctor's prescription for the oil.

Wilson went on to say that in May 2017 the Texas Commissioner of Health added "marijuana extract" to Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substance Act, criminalizing any possession of an "extract" from a plant of the genus Cannabis.  Wilson said this is the basis for the current illegal status of non-prescribed CBD oil.

Supporters of CBD have responded to stories published by NBC 5 Investigates about CBD oil, often citing the 2018 Farm Bill as the basis for its perceived legality. The bill reclassified industrial hemp which contains less than .3 percent concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical that gives users a high.

Responding to the reports by NBC 5 Investigates, a major hemp advocacy group fired off a letter to Wilson saying, in part, "We write to strongly urge (you) to abandon your efforts to arrest, or otherwise prosecute as a crime, the purchase, possession or sale of hemp-derived CBD."

The advocacy group, the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, noted that the World Health Organization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found CBD, "after intense scientific scrutiny, as safe and non-toxic, with no abuse potential or risk to the public health."

Wilson said Texas has not legalized hemp and that in order to legalize the possession and sale of these products in Texas, Commissioner of Health John Hellerstedt must remove marijuana extract from the Controlled Substances schedule.

Meanwhile, the Texas legislature is considering bills this session that will legalize industrial hemp production in the state as well as products related to it.  As of this writing, HB 1325, filed by Rep. Tracy King (D-Dist. 80), of Uvalde, deals directly with the production and regulation of hemp and hemp extracts.

Wilson added that her office does not have the authority to change the law and invited CBD supporters to reach out to their legislators and Hellerstedt's office to share their views.

That being said, Wilson said her office prosecuted nearly 50,000 criminal cases in 2018 and that they do not expect to spend significant resources on cases involving CBD oil.

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