A Travis County, Texas judge has temporarily blocked the state from listing delta-8 THC as a Schedule I narcotic, legalizing the synthetic cannabinoid for the time being, the Texas Tribune reports. The decision by state district court Judge Jan Soifer sided with Hometown Hero, an Austin-based dispensary that had filed for an injunction against the state.
Hometown Hero said the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) did not alert retailers prior to the October 15 ban. In its counterargument, the state claimed that a notice in the Texas Register, a hearing with no attendees, and a DSHS official’s testimony to the Legislature in May were ample notice to CBD and hemp retailers.
In her ruling, Soifer sided with Hometown Hero, saying the state did not follow their own rule-making procedure when they issued the ban.
“This is a strong first step in reaffirming the fact that delta-8 is a legal cannabinoid in Texas,” Ben Meggs, CEO of Bayou City Hemp, a financial backer of the Hometown Hero’s lawsuit, said in a written statement.
DSHS has not responded to the ruling but in a lawsuit said the 2018 Farm Bill and a Texas hemp bill passed in 2019 did not legalize the sale of delta-8 THC as the synthetic cannabinoid was not explicitly mentioned in either document.
In a short YouTube video, Hometown Hero CEO Lukas Gilkey said advocates “are expecting the state to appeal this immediately. But it shouldn’t change anything, and we should be able to keep proceeding going forward.”
CBD and hemp stores in Texas started selling delta-8 under the assumption the 2018 Farm bill and the state’s hemp law had legalized the practice. This ruling returns the state to a cannabinoid regulatory landscape present before the DSHS’ October 15 ban.