At a Senate Committee hearing in Austin Tuesday, a state senator offered some insight into a lingering question at the capitol: What does Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) think about efforts to legalize CBD oil?
State Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) said he has spoken to the lieutenant governor about the issue directly and that Patrick had some concerns about legal issues related to hemp and CBD.
"But mostly," Perry said, "he was wanting quality and consistency in product. And his comment to me directly was, 'I want to make sure what consumers are buying is the real deal.'"
Patrick’s press office said Tuesday it would provide a statement later regarding his position. A spokesperson noted that throughout the discussion on the bill there has been a lot of interest in ensuring the safety of any CBD products sold to consumers.
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Some supporters of CBD oil and hemp legalization are concerned that Patrick might try to block the bill (HB 1325) which has unanimously passed in the House.
Patrick had previously stated opposition to widening access to medical marijuana. But his position on CBD oil is unclear. In recent weeks, his spokesperson did not respond to questions from NBC 5 Investigates regarding the issue.
CBD oil from hemp contains very low levels of THC, and experts say it does not provide a high like marijuana, which has significantly higher THC levels.
On Tuesday, experts, including a representative of the state's Agriculture Department, testified that the bill under consideration would strictly regulate hemp production. It would also require QR codes on CBD products, giving Texas consumers the ability to scan the code and access independent lab results for each product.
Across the country, the rapid growth of CBD sales has raised concerns that some producers are not being straightforward about what is in some CBD products.
Our NBC sister station in Miami recently tested CBD products at a certified lab and discovered some contained little or no CBD at all.
Others contained pesticides. And in one case, a very high level of lead was detected.
CBD industry organizations said some producers may buy CBD extracts from countries overseas, which do not regulate hemp growing as strictly as hemp producing states in the U.S., where the presence of heavy metals and pesticides are prohibited.
At Tuesday"s hearing, all of the witnesses spoke in favor of the bill. The committee took no action, leaving a vote for another day.