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This is such a great article discussing the possible benefits that hemp could bring to our struggling farmers in Texas. Here's the full text. 

Take a trip down the aisle of the nearest Whole Foods Market and it won’t take long to fill a shopping basket with products trumpeting the health and beauty benefits of a commodity Texas farmers are forbidden to grow: hemp.

Lotions, shampoos and shower gels boasting hemp’s essential oils and antioxidants. Shelled seeds, or hemp hearts, promising bigger boosts of protein and omega fatty acids than chia or flax seeds. Boxes of non-dairy hemp milk touting vitamins, minerals and amino acids for healthy hearts and glowing skin. All in packaging that if not displaying the leaves of the long-taboo cannabis plant itself is inevitably splashed with hearty doses of green.

There already are more than 25,000 identified uses for hemp, ranging from health foods and nutraceuticals to clothing, car dashboards, biodegradable plastics and construction materials like “hempcrete.” With the nation’s farm incomes near a 12-year low, it’s no wonder Texas growers want in on a market that’s expected to explode nearly sixfold to $1.65 billion in the U.S. alone by 2021.

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“Making money from farming has gotten harder and harder every year and it it’s just another crop that gives me something else to grow,” said Jeff Williams, a West Texas rancher who raises alfalfa, corn and winter cereal grains near Fort Stockton. He envisions not only growing hemp but also investing in a co-op to process it.

“I raise cattle. And you know who makes ultimately the most money year in, year out is the slaughterhouses,” he added. “The producers, the feeders, we’re at the bottom of the totem pole. For me this is such a monumental new industry, and to be able to jump in at the ground floor and not only grow but produce products, to be able to have both sides of that chain, is one of the most exciting things.”

Whether that becomes a reality depends on the Texas Legislature.

Hemp is a variety of the cannabis genus, as is marijuana, but the two plants are distinctly different. Hemp grows tall and spindly, while marijuana is shorter and densely packed. More importantly, hemp has nominal amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound that caused cannabis to become illegal during the Depression era.

Yet while hemp can’t get you high, proponents say many lawmakers in this conservative state are fearful a vote to legalize hemp would be a vote to legalize pot.

Under a provision of the 2014 farm bill, 40 other states already allow farmers to grow hemp as part of pilot programs with universities or state departments of agriculture.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, whose bluegrass state once led the nation in hemp production, got wide bipartisan support for his 2018 farm bill provision to decriminalize hemp.

The measure would remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, which in 1970 classified marijuana (and hemp) as a Schedule 1 drug along with heroin, peyote and MDMA (ecstasy). It also would make growers eligible for crop insurance. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, cosponsored the bill.

“It’s Mitch McConnell’s bill but it’s cosponsored by Chuck Schumer as well as three dozen other senators,” Jonathan Miller, a Kentucky lawyer who serves as general counsel for the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, told members of the Texas House Agriculture & Livestock Committee during an interim hearing in July. “Can you imagine there’s any other issue than motherhood and apple pie that Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer agree on? But they’re both out there excitedly promoting this, which is a sign of true excitement of the industry.”

Kentucky’s pilot program has already resulted in about $17 million in gross product sales generating $7.5 million for hemp farmers and nearly 100 new full-time jobs. That’s a welcome development for farmers who have seen demand for tobacco steadily decline.

Hemp is not mentioned in the House version of the farm bill.

House Agriculture Committee chairman U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Midland, has said he is fine with it as long as it doesn’t cost crucial votes on a package that includes contentious work requirements for food stamp recipients that make up the bulk of the five-year spending plan.

“When it was over on the House side because of the food stamp issue the bill passed by only two votes,” Miller said. “They didn’t want to bring up the hemp issue because if it lost two votes then it would kill the bill.”

The two chambers will begin hammering out their differences in conference committee when House members return from their August recess.

Even if passed, the federal legislation would not pre-empt state laws.

Some Texas lawmakers already are convinced hemp production should be allowed in Texas. Legalization measures passed out of the state agriculture committee unanimously in both 2015 and 2017. But that’s as far as the effort got.

The Texas GOP’s 2018 platform supports legalization of hemp, and state Democrats’ 2018 platform supports legalization of recreational marijuana.

But so far, the only cannabis provision to make it into law is strictly regulated use of cannabidiol, or CBD, for treatment of intractable epilepsy. The allowance, known as the Compassionate Use Act, is so narrow Texas is not listed as one of the 30 states that allow medical-use marijuana.

“You’ve got this momentum going, but we have to somehow get these legislators beyond this knee-jerk response that hemp is marijuana and it’s going to cause everybody to become dopeheads and stuff,” said Laurance Armour, a Wharton farmer who thinks hemp could be a viable and less thirsty alternative to rice in a region whose sandy soils won’t sustain most row crops.

Rice farmers in the region were without water from 2012 to 2015 as drought conditions led the Lower Colorado River Authority to hold back water for reservoirs in Austin.

Cotton farmers also are interested in hemp as an alternative or rotator crop. According to Shawn Hauser, an attorney with the American Hemp Campaign, the per-acre value of hemp production is around $21,000 from seeds and $12,500 from stalks. As of May 1, the gross per-acre value for cotton and cotton seed was $637.

“Given Texas’ size, agricultural infrastructure, friendly business climate and low cost of resources,” she said, “we could likely be the biggest producer of all the states.”

Coleman Hemphill, chairman of the Texas Hemp Industries Association, said hemp’s advantages include the relatively time it takes to reach harvest, 60 to 90 days compared to about a 160 days for cotton.

“Just that reduced time frame is going to reduce a lot of the liabilities with the crop and the water consumption,” Hemphill said. “It’s not a silver bullet by any means, but it is resilient.”

Armour, the Wharton farmer, had just been at a water use luncheon with state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, who he said didn’t know of the difference between hemp and marijuana.

“It’s sort of the misconception that people have who are in a position to do something about legalizing it,” Armour said. “She said, ‘Well, what if you smoke it?’ I said, ‘Well, you’ll get a cough and a sore throat.’”

Asked to comment, Kolkhorst noted that she voted in favor of the 2015 Compassionate Use Act.

“In 2015, Texas enacted the Compassionate Use Act, which I supported to give some doctors the ability to prescribe low-THC cannabis for patients who have epilepsy,” she said. “In terms of expanding the conversation, federal law has traditionally included hemp within the same category as marijuana, but some states are experimenting with industrial hemp farming. I am confident Texas will continue to study this issue and listen to all sides of the debate during the next legislative session.”

Another common objection is that marijuana could end up hidden in hemp fields.

It’s an argument that’s quickly debunked, as cross pollination with hemp weakens marijuana’s THC content.

“The marijuana growers don’t get along with the hemp growers,” said Rick Trojan of Colorado Cultivars, the largest hemp farm in Colorado. “People that are growing high THC outdoors, they run the risk of having pollination and that crop ruined.”

Texas lawmakers largely have been mum about their positions on hemp legalization. Conaway’s office did not respond to an inquiry on whether he’d support hemp, nor did any of the five Texas congress members named to the farm bill conference committee.

Hemp, one of the oldest crops known to mankind, is believed to have originated some 10,000 years ago in Central Asia and arrived in America on board the Mayflower. The British Empire compelled colonists to grow hemp for such maritime uses as hempen ropes and canvas for sails. The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper. It was grown by both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Accounts of why cannabis was essentially prohibited in 1937 vary, to include the theory Harry Anslinger, who led the Department of Prohibition, was looking for something new to ban after the prohibition on alcohol was repealed. Another popular explanation links prohibition to fears that minority groups were spreading a substance that incited madness and violence.

Elsewhere hemp has continued to be grown.

According to the Congressional Research Service, hemp imports to the United States totaled $67.3 million in 2017.

Ninety percent of the imports came from Canada. Other suppliers included China, Romania and other European countries, India, the Dominican Republic and Chile. The U.S. is the only industrialized nation to prohibit cultivating hemp.

“We currently cannot grow it but we can import it, said Jim Reaves of the Texas Farm Bureau, which is against legalizing marijuana but is for legalization of hemp. “We eat it, we make clothes out of it, we make all sorts of stuff out of it. ... I mean it’s grown in other states, this is a no-brainer.”

“We’ve been doing a lot of education just to make sure everybody understands this is not a bad thing,” Reaves added. “Over the last four years, we’ve had a 50 percent drop in gains from our crops and our crop production. This would give our farmers additional revenue, especially in some of those bad years.”

 

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In an historic resolution, the World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence just recommended that “preparations considered to be pure CBD should not be scheduled within the International Drug Control Conventions.”
 
Some key findings from the WHO:

  • There are no case reports of abuse or dependence relating to the use of pure CBD.”
  •  “No public health problems have been associated with CBD use.”
  • “CBD has been found to be generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.”
  •  “There is no evidence that CBD is liable to similar abuse and similar ill-effects as substances…such as cannabis or THC.”

 

On the eve of passage of the Farm Act of 2018 and the Hemp Amendment through Congress, the DEA has raided a vape shop in Amarillo and seized CBD oil. Texas Health has still yet to make a decision on whether it too will begin to seize CBD oil. This is a troubling day for advocates of Hemp based products. CBD oil contains a fractional amount of THC, if any, and in has none of the hallucinogenic affects of cannabis. Stay tuned for updates.  

CBD — which doesn’t produce a high — has been gaining in popularity nationwide as a treatment for all manner of ailments, including chronic pain, anxiety, seizures and sleep disorders. But it remains illegal under federal law, as doestetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the component of the marijuana plant that is psychoactive.

In 2015, Texas passed the Compasionate Use Act that permits State approved growers to produce low-THC CBD oil to be prescribed by State approved doctors for the treatmatent of a limited class of epilepsy seizure disorders. The Compasiionate Use Act opened the door to the over the counter sale of Hemp based CBD oil in Texas. 

In April 2018, however, the Texas Department of State Health Services issued a letter stating that it would confiscate any and all Hemp CBD oil sold in the state because CBD oil is clasified by the DEA under the Controlled Substances Act as marijuana. In May 2018, the Texas Department of State Health Services backed down from this threat in reponse to overwhelming reponse from CBD hemp oil users about its benefits.

For now it remains unclear whether CBD hemp oil may be legally sold in Texas. It is advisable that anyone in the CBD hemp oil business conslut with an attorney who is well versed in  marijuana and cannabis law cases for updates on future possible changes in Texas concerning THC and CBD laws. 

President Trump has promised a top Senate Republican that he will support congressional efforts to protect states that have legalized marijuana — defusing a months-long standoff between Sen. Cory Gardner and the administration over Justice Department nominees.  Bringing an end to the Federal Ban on Cannabis would likely open the door to more states legalizing medical and recreational cannabis use. This would free up criminal justice resources on both the State and Federal level to prosecute actual crimes. Let's hope Trump follows through on this promise. 

It's not enough to refuse a breath test anymore. If you refuse to take a breath test, the police can obtain a search warrant to draw blood. In Texas, a police officer who has probable cause to arrest a suspect for DWI can obtain a search warrant for your blood. To do so, the officer must submit a search warrant application to a judge. If the judge reviews the search warrant affidavit and finds that there is probable cause, then a search warrant will be issued authorizing a qualified lab tech to collect a blood sample. That blood sample will then be taken by the arresting officer and set to the crime lab for testing. if the blood comes back over the legal limit of .08, it can by offered as evidence of impariment at trial. 

 

What To Know If You Are the Target of A Federal Investigation:

So you’ve been served with a target letter or grand jury subpoena. That means that the Feds are either investigating you, or believe that you might have information about a criminal case that they’d like to know about.
Now what? Well the first thing you need to do is hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer who regularly practices in federal court. There’s a big difference between practicing in State and Federal court and if your lawyer doesn’t know that difference, things could go very badly for you! So make sure the lawyer you hire regularly appears before the federal judges in your district and has a good working relationship with the United States Attorney’s Office, the FBI, DEA, ATF, and United States Secret Service. Those are the agents you’ll likely be dealing with if you’re facing federal criminal charges. 
If you’re contacted by an agent from one of these agencies, chances are good that you’ll be put on the spot to give a statement. Anything you say at this point could be used to prosecute you so now’s the time to stop and contact a criminal defense lawyer. Also know that if you lie to a federal agent, it can subject you to prosecution for obstruction of justice and add time to your ultimate sentence.
Tell the agents you want a lawyer present before answering any of their questions. That will generally put a stop to their questioning and buy you some time to find out what’s going on with the case and get some good advice on how to best proceed. The lawyer you hire can then contact the agents to confirm if you’re indeed a target of a federal criminal investigation or merely a potential witness. If you’re a target, odds are good the prosecutor and agents think there is substantial evidence linking you to a crime. That means you are potentially facing indictment, arrest and prosecution. If you get a target letter, that typically means the investigation has been going on for a while. The feds are very thorough and they don’t bring charges unless they’ve spent a great deal of time building a strong case. Now you’ve got to get up to speed on what’s going on. The best way to get that done is by hiring an experienced criminal lawyer who knows where to go and who to contact to get you the answers you need. This is definitely not “do it yourself time.”
A suspect will not always receive a target letter prior to being prosecuted. Sometimes the federal prosecutor will not want a target to know that a grand jury investigation is going on to avoid the possibility of tipping off the suspect or risking that witnesses might be tampered with. If you think that federal agents are investigating your activities, don’t wait to hire a lawyer. A good criminal defense lawyer can do a great deal to help you avoid prosecution at this stage. It’s significantly easier to get a case dismissed prior to an indictment – so bringing an attorney onto your team as soon as possible is important.
Don’t be surprised if federal agents show up at your home or place of business. Federal agents usually travel in pairs and they like to catch unwitting suspects off guard. These agents are very well trained at getting information out of suspects, so it’s critical that you consult with a qualified criminal defense lawyer before you say anything.
Bottom line, if you think you might be either a target of a federal grand jury or a potential witness, consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer before you say or do anything. You’ve got a right to be represented by a lawyer. So exercise that right! 
www.dangelolegal.com

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