On Aug. 23, Judge Laura Livingston of Texas's 261st District Court ruled the state's smokable hemp ban unconstitutional.
Challenging the state's ban was a Dallas-based manufacturer of smokable hemp products, Wild Hempettes LLC, the lead plaintiff in the Crown Distributing LLC, et al. v. Texas Department of State Health Services, et al. lawsuit.
The lawsuit came after Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1325 into law in 2019, prohibiting the processing and manufacturing of smokable hemp in the state, Hemp Grower previously reported. However, according to JD SUPRA, the possession, consumption, or importation of smokable hemp from other states remained legal.
Shortly after Abbott signed H.B. 1325 into law, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) proceeded to outlaw the sale of smokable hemp products in Texas.
Plaintiffs and Texas hemp producers and retailers argued that H.B. 1325 was "unconstitutional because it was not rationally related to any legitimate government interest (smokable hemp could still be sold and consumed in the state, just not produced by Texas hemp businesses)," JD SUPRA reported.
Judge Livingston issued a letter to the parties, ruling that the state's ban on smokable hemp was unconstitutional.
As previously reported by Hemp Grower, plaintiffs of the case were granted a temporary injunction on the state's smokable hemp ban in early August, which permitted the sale and distribution of these products but prohibited their production.
But now, Texas hemp companies can continue to participate in the smokable hemp market and provide consumers with access to such products in the state.
"Wild Hempettes embarked on this litigation knowing it would be very expensive for the company," said Zain Meghani, CEO of Wild Hempettes LLC, in a press release. "However, ... Wild Hempettes needed to support this effort. This litigation was necessary not only in defense of our right to manufacture federally legal hemp smokables in the State but also to preserve local jobs, and most importantly, to assert the fundamental right of adult consumers to legitimately enjoy hemp smoking and vaping products produced in Texas that were in imminent danger of being banned in the State.
"Our customers told us they would be unhappy to see Wild Hemp Hempettes removed from retail shelves across the state because of bad rulemaking," Meghani added. "We knew our only option was to turn to the Courts when the Texas Department of State Health Services ignored the extensive public comments to the Rulemaking from Texas hemp growers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers, and hastily pushed through a regulatory framework that was fundamentally flawed and in clear violation of Texas law and legal precedent. We are very pleased with the court's decision and look forward to continuing to produce our award-winning Hempettes and vaping products here in Texas."