The American Hemp Campaign, a new hemp advocacy and education project supported by legendary country musician Willie Nelson’s cannabis company, announced Monday that it will advocate for allowing commercial hemp cultivation in Texas. The announcement comes just as state lawmakers are preparing to study the issue.
The Texas House Agriculture and Livestock Committee will hold an interim public hearing on industrial hemp Tuesday at 10 a.m. in Room E1.010 of the Texas Capitol Extension. This interim, the committee has been tasked with investigating and reporting on (1) "the uses of industrial hemp and the economic feasibility of developing an industrial hemp market under existing or future state and federal regulations," and (2) "the processing and manufacturing process requirements of multiple bi-products, including feed, food, fiber, cosmetics, supplements, and building materials."
The committee has invited testimony from American Hemp Campaign steering committee member Shawn Hauser, a Texas native and University of Texas at Austin alumna. Hauser chairs the Hemp Practice Group at Vicente Sederberg LLC and is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading experts on hemp law and policy. American Hemp Campaign steering committee member and Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra will provide testimony to the committee in writing.
"Hemp is an incredibly valuable crop with a huge range of applications,” Hauser said. “Allowing commercial hemp farming in Texas would create jobs and other economic opportunities for local farmers and manufacturers. Our nation’s hemp laws are changing and more than 20 states are moving forward with hemp programs, so it would be a shame for Texas to be left behind.”
The American Hemp Campaign was launched earlier this month by the nation’s leading grassroots hemp advocacy organization, Vote Hemp, with backing from New Belgium Brewing and GCH, the company behind Willie Nelson’s cannabis brands. It is a coalition-based effort to highlight the economic benefits of domestic hemp production, and it is seeking the involvement of other organizations and companies, both in Texas and nationwide, that are interested in seeing a vibrant U.S. hemp industry.