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Texas Supreme Court hears case against smokeable cannabis ban challenge

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The Texas Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case challenging the state’s ban on smokeable cannabis, and has set a date for oral arguments early next year.

After legalizing hemp at the federal level through the 2018 Farm Bill, the following year, Texas legislators approved legislation banning the manufacture of smokeable cannabis products. Smokeable forms of cannabis are often rich in CBD and other cannabinoids, and have become popular with consumers, particularly in states without other forms of legal cannabis.

In 2020, four cannabis companies filed a lawsuit in Travis County Court against the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the agency responsible for regulating consumer cannabis in the state, and its commissioner, John Hellerstedt. Judge Laura Livingston of the 261st District Court ruled in August that Banning smokeable cannabis is unconstitutional He issued a permanent injunction preventing DSHS from carrying out its rulings.

“Based on the entire record in this case, the Court concludes that Texas Health and Safety Code Section 443.204 (4) is not reasonably related to a legitimate government interest,” Livingston books In its final judgment.

“In addition, based on the entire record in this case, the de facto impact of Texas Health and Safety Act Section 443.204(4) is too onerous to be oppressive in light of any legitimate government interest,” Livingston continued in its ruling.

Zachary Maxwell, president of Texas Hemp Growers, praised Livingston’s ruling after a judge overturned the ban.

“Today’s ruling is a major win for the cannabis industry in Texas, and may set a new standard in similar cases across the country,” Maxwell He said In a press release at the time. “The lawyers behind the Texas Hemp Legal Defense Fund have fought hard, bringing fact-based arguments to the courtroom and proving the undeniable financial damage caused by this overbearing ban.”

The Ministry of Health is appealing the verdict against the ban

On December 3, the DSHS appealed the judge’s ruling to the Texas Supreme Court, asserting that the Supreme Court had jurisdiction over the civil case. On December 17, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, scheduling arguments for March 22, 2022.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the DSHS, four cannabis companies led by Crown Distributing, argue that the ban on smokeable cannabis is unconstitutional, writing that “the regulations in question prevent the cannabis business from manufacturing and processing a legal good.” They also argue that the DSHS has interpreted the law too rigorously by banning the sale of smokeable cannabis, noting that the regulations only prohibit “processing or manufacturing” such products.

“In June 2019, Governor Abbott signed a law establishing a cannabis program in Texas. Among other things, he directs the DSHS Executive Commissioner to ban “the processing or manufacture of a consumer hemp product.” However, the DSHS law that was later adopted in 2020 went Much further: the rule prohibits “manufacturing, processing, distributing, or selling consumable cannabis products for the purpose of smoking.”

after The ban on smoking came into effect In 2020, Sam Alves, manager of the 7th Heaven Smoke Shop in Killeen, Texas, told local media that his patrons use smokeable cannabis therapeutically.

“Our clients always tell us how much CBD has changed their lives,” Elvis He said. “They sleep better; their knees don’t hurt – they take the medicine away, that’s what they do.”

He noted that with the ban, a large part of his revenue was put at risk.

“This could potentially cut our business 50 percent – we’re looking at a good 50 percent. Personally, I don’t think they know what they’re doing,” he said, referring to Texas lawmakers. They legitimized it, but now they’re getting it back. I don’t understand that part of it.”

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