Texas Supreme Court upholds smokable-hemp ban

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Texas’ Supreme Court restored a 2019 smokable-hemp ban, throwing out a lower court’s rejection of the prohibition and outlawing any companies in the state that currently manufacture hemp products for smoking.

The unanimous decision released Friday turns down arguments from four Texas hemp companies that the ban passed by Texas lawmakers was unconstitutional because it “has no rational connection to any possible governmental interest” and is “so burdensome as to be oppressive.”

The ban was passed in the same measure that authorized hemp production.

The Texas justices noted that hemp production before 2019 was illegal in Texas anyway, so the manufacturers had little basis for arguing that the smokable-hemp ban somehow took away a business activity that had previously been allowed.

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“Considering the long history of the state’s extensive efforts to prohibit and regulate the production, possession, and use of the Cannabis sativa L. plant, we conclude that the manufacture and processing of smokable hemp products is neither a liberty interest nor a vested property interest,” Justice Jeff Boyd wrote for the court.

The decision means that hemp producers in the nation’s second-most-populous state can no longer access a sector that could generate $400 million in annual sales by 2025.