Bill Legalizing CBD Passes House, Heads to Senate

HB 1325 next headed to Senate Committee

CBD oil is a step closer to being legalized in Texas after legislators in the House voted on Wednesday to allow people to buy it without fear of being arrested.

HB 1325 cleared the House with no one opposing it Tuesday, paving the way for a final vote Wednesday. That vote was held just after noon and was unanimous (144-0). The bill will next head to the Senate, where it may meet some resistance, including possibly from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

If approved, the bill would allow Texas farmers to grow hemp, which is used to make CBD oil and other products.

It would also clear up confusion for consumers -- who can buy CBD oil right now in stores -- even though many Texas law enforcement officials insist it's illegal, including in Tarrant County.

One of the bill's key supporters, Rep. Drew Springer (R-Gainesville), told NBC 5 Investigates he faced some questions from legislators who were concerned that legalizing CBD might be a first step toward legalizing marijuana.

But he said he reassured them that the hemp used to make CBD has little or no THC -- the ingredient that gives people a high in marijuana.

But late Tuesday NBC 5 Investigates learned there were still lingering questions about what would happen in the Senate.

Patrick -- who has power to block legislation -- still has not stated his position on hemp and CBD.

Patrick's spokesman told NBC 5 Investigates he would provide a statement in response to questions. But late Tuesday there was still no response.

The Texas Hemp Industries Association also said it has received no word from Patrick on his stance on CBD.

But Coleman Hemphill, a spokesman for the association said he was still hopeful about the group's prospects in the Senate.

"A lot of those discussions have been very positive, so we are very optimistic to see if move forward," Hemphill said.

Meanwhile, another state representative from North Texas said his office received a flurry of calls from constituents -- all supporting CBD products -- which many Texans already buy in a gray market -- to treat pain and other problems.

"In this particular bill we have had 102 people say they are for the bill and no one opposed. We never see that, so we are seeing a lot of excitement about this bill," Giovanni Capriglione (R-Keller) said.

Without decisive action from the legislature this year -- consumers would have to wait two more years to clear up CBD confusion.

The next legislative session is not until 2021. And stores across the state continue to sell CBD in a a market with very murky rules.

In a series of reports NBC 5 Investigates has revealed the legal ambiguity surrounding CBD in Texas and examined how other states have grappled with the issue.

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