Due to recent changes in Texas state law, you may feel confused about whether or not marijuana is legal. The short answer is that marijuana is still illegal for recreational use, and there are limitations to its medical use.
However, according to the Texas Tribune, new laws enacted by the state government last year made hemp legal. They also legalized cannabis oil, also known as cannabidiol or CBD, in certain low concentrations. The confusion arises from the fact that these products all derive from the same plant.
Marijuana and hemp both come from the cannabis plant. The difference between the two is in how much tetrahydrocannabinol each contains. This substance, more commonly known as THC, is the psychoactive compound that produces the high that recreational marijuana users seek. According to the law, plants with a THC concentration of 0.3% or less are hemp, which is legal to possess. However, those with a THC concentration of more than 0.3% are marijuana, which is still illegal.
CBD oil is a compound derived from the cannabis plant. The Food and Drug Administration has approved it through the prescription drug Epidiolex, used to treat two rare forms of epilepsy. However, its proponents claim that it is effective at treating other conditions as well, such as insomnia, depression and anxiety. CBD oil is nonpsychoactive, and as long as the concentration of THC is less than 0.3%, businesses throughout Texas can legally sell it.
Over the course of six months after the law first went into effect, statewide marijuana prosecutions have decreased by more than half. Without the resources available to detect a product’s THC content precisely, crime labs cannot gather sufficient evidence to try the case in court. Therefore, prosecutors have dropped hundreds of charges in the wake of the new laws.