Source: Austin Business Journal

Citing legal “ambiguities,” the Texas Department of Public Safety will not take action against an Austin pharmacy that sold products made from hemp oil.

That decision has prompted a statewide hemp industry advocacy group to renew calls for Texas legislators to clarify laws around the cultivation, manufacture and use of hemp products.

DPS officers visited four Peoples Pharmacy Inc. locations in the Austin area — branded as Peoples Rx — in September, according to Texas Hemp Industries Association Policy DirectorSheila Hemphill. Officers confiscated products containing the chemical compound cannabidiol, or CBD for short. A fifth pharmacy, Martin’s Wellness and Compounding Pharmacy on South Lamar Boulevard, was also visited by DPS officers but no products were confiscated.

The products confiscated had CBDs but did not contain tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive chemical compound that provides the “high” associated with marijuana, according to a DPS statement distributed Monday by the hemp association. CBD is not psychoactive and hemp industry advocates say it can be helpful to treat pain.

“Given certain ambiguities regarding the status of CBD under the Texas Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the department, after consulting with prosecutors, does not intend to pursue enforcement action based on the tested substance,” reads the statement from DPS General Counsel Phillip Adkins. “This discretionary enforcement decision does not constitute a general opinion about the legality of any product.”

DPS representatives did not respond to requests for additional comment for this article. The DPS Compassionate Use Division was created to regulate medical marijuana products after Texas lawmakers in 2015 legalized medical marijuana use to treat symptoms of epileptics who have not responded to more traditional therapies. At the time, that law was frequently referred to as a “low THC, high CBD” bill, which Hemphill believes led to confusion among regulators that CBD can only come from medical marijuana plants.

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