Weeks after some hemp companies filed a lawsuit against implementing a ban on smokable hemp in Texas, a judge in Travis county has come to their aid by temporarily lifting the ban. The state of Texas had banned the manufacture and sale of smokable hemp products. Several companies moved to court to challenge what they called an unconstitutional ban.
In the ruling on Thursday, Travis county judge, Lora Livingstone blocked the state’s hemp authorities from enacting the ban until the matter in court was solved. Judge Livingstone said that the hemp companies who had filed the lawsuit showed probable right to relief, which is sufficient to grant them a temporary injunction.
The injunction lasts until Feb 1 when the trial is scheduled to end.
What does this mean for the state’s authorities that started enacting the ban as of Aug 2? Until the final ruling is made, the Texas Department of State Health Services will not enforce the prohibition of manufacturing, processing, distribution, or retailing of smokable hemp products.
This is the first time that we are seeing an attempt to dispute the banning of hemp products meant for smoking or vaping in state courts in place of the federal judiciary. A similar lawsuit in the state of Indiana is stuck in federal judiciary.
Early last month, the group of companies challenging the Texas ruling said that the ban would make the state lose an enormous economic opportunity, especially after the impact of COVID 19. According to attorney Chelsie Spencer, who represents Crown Distributing LLC, the company is set to lose $59.6 million over the next five years if the ban were to come into effect.
Texas legalized hemp, cannabis plants with less than 0.3% of the psychoactive THC cannabinoid, in 2019. However, the legislature banned smokable or vaped hemp products within the state while exempting those from outside the state. The Texas Department of State Health Services wants to extend the ban to selling or distributing all consumable hemp products meant for vaping or smoking.