TX Hemp Reporter Fall Edition

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You, Me and THC…. Eh?

There’s been an insane amount of articles about delta-8 thc, and many other isomers that are either extracted by bulk processing or converting CBD. What we don’t see are articles about THCa flower and concentrate products. We don’t see as much discussion about that and it needs to be mentioned.

It’s difficult to prioritize what is important about this product for an article. Is it the part about how timing is key on when to discuss this at large or what the product truly is? Well the short answers are “not during legislative session” and “true legal flower.” Those appear to be some big leaps from the questions and what one would think the discussion may result in. Perhaps understanding the product will clarify many issues or misconceptions, and shed light on why the timing of said discussion is important as well.

“It’s time for the cat to be out of the bag and the toothpaste out of the tube. Putting them back will be incredibly difficult if the public understands the current operation of this program and the associated rules.”

Let’s get some terms properly understood, so we can understand the product of discussion. Have the mindset that hemp is a legal term that does not mean anything other than the legal guidelines in the United States and Texas on how one can legally grow, cultivate, and sell cannabis flower. Change Texas with your state if you are not reading this in Texas. That’s really what it boils down to. People get hung up on the term usually because of some misconception as to what they perceive is the process and final product created. The plant has rules for growing in the US. This article isn’t about what you or anyone else finds either.

Those rules, if followed precisely with some thoughtful planning, can lead to amazing cannabis products that rival legal states while not violating federal or state law. All of this for THCa rests on the farmer with how they go about harvesting their plant, and understanding that pre-harvest-test rules are different from post-harvest-test rules. The plant is legally hemp in any form from seed, to stalk, to flower before the harvest-testing as long as it stays below 0.3% total-THC. Cannabis seeds are hemp by default now under federal law as they never contain any THC isomers. Doesn’t matter if they can grow into what one would consider marijuana, they are hemp at that state and not a criminal offense to possess if you never state you have intent on growing marijuana.

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There’s a classic product on the shelves this past year, and the public is squandering precious time it has between now, the next election, and legislative session for Texas.
Why THCa is important to hemp and the cannabis movement as a whole.
It’s time for the cat to be out of the bag and the toothpaste out of the tube. Putting them back will be incredibly difficult if the public understands the current operation of this program and the associated rules.

The plant grows and gets to a point where it is beginning to flower. There’s a point for farmers to recognize that the flower is still below the 0.3% total-THC mark and would wish for a harvesting sample to be lab tested to show the plant is legally ready for harvest. The total-THC rule applies to everything on the plant up to and including that harvest sample, nothing outside of delta-9 THC afterwards. Let’s repeat that because it’s insanely important to understand. The total-THC rule applies to everything on the plant up to and including that harvest sample, NOTHING OUTSIDE OF DELTA-9 THC AFTERWARDS. The farmer will get their lab results back and if it states that the total-THC content is below 0.3%, they are clear to harvest. The farmer at that point has 30 days to harvest.

“If you talk about this concept at the wrong time and place it will get shut down before people get an idea as to what they have and are willing to fight for it.”

Those 30 days are a magical zone for farmers, and for consumers if they understand what is going to happen at this point given that repeated part earlier.

Within those 30 days the plant is going to continue to bloom and will produce THCa.This is the natural progression of the cannabis plant. THCa is not some lab chemical. It is not something sprayed on plants. It is not some additive. THCa is not some new age compound created by the industry as a former CBD compound to get around the law. This is the natural progression of growing female cannabis plants. THCa is what you are decarboxylating (decarbing for short) when you burn or heat cannabis up, and that decarb turns the chemical into delta-9 THC. THCa can legally be at any percentage range as well in the hemp program. There’s no cap on this substance once the harvest sample passes the test.

From all that has been said so far, perhaps one can truly understand what is being discussed as a product. And understand that this is legal and in compliance with current Texas law and federal law. There are people out there on social media spaces making claims that the DEA has outlawed it and making raids on it, not true. People make claims that other states have shut it down for numerous reasons, and those reasons have nothing to do with those states having big medical programs and/or legal markets that don’t want hemp competing in their space. Are police raiding stores and shops? Yes, and it’s because they want to play ignorance of the law or the possibility a shop has products that are not within compliance. People are making claims and they don’t have the proof to back their claims.

What is the deal with timing then? Easy, if you talk about this concept at the wrong time and place it will get shut down before people get an idea as to what they have and are willing to fight for it. You lose any chance of building enough momentum that keeps its removal at bay by state leadership. If you say these things during legislature meetings, it puts priority on the prohibitionists making sure they get their way with a fear campaign. They already refuse to put the proper measures in place to stop any of the true worries they claim to have, so that a crisis can be created. They then blame all of us for the crisis.

It’s time for the cat to be out of the bag and the toothpaste out of the tube. Putting them back will be incredibly difficult if the public understands the current operation of this program and the associated rules. Nobody will want to take away the things helping veterans and grandma/grandpa. They don’t want to have 1000’s of voters calling lines day and night asking why the legislature has even considered killing these products and the benefits it has on our economy.

That also means that shops will need to do what it takes to get these products to move off the shelf as much as possible. They will need to inform their customers of what to do to stay up to date if they want to keep their products legal.

“But my customers don’t want to know about this,” is only a phrase working against your interests as a business. Because if those customers aren’t willing to make a phone call when it comes time to stop a bad hemp bill, there won’t be a product to buy and generate that revenue for you anymore. Nobody is asking shops to speak a big spiel about it, just point them in a resourceful direction.

Activists, lobbyists, writers such as myself (who’s in the first two as well), customers, and shop owners are all in this together. That list is not all inclusive either. As someone that’s been on the scene at the capitol in offices talking to reps and testifying on bills, please take this to heart. We all have to work together to get anyone with a voice to understand that the program is on thin ice when it comes to the legislature and its leadership.

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If you talk about this concept at the wrong time and place it will get shut down before people get an idea as to what they have and are willing to fight for it.”
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E A S Y - T O - U S E W H O L E S A L E P L A T F O R M H I G H Q U A L I T Y , I N N O V A T I V E P R O D U C T S M E N T I O N C O D E T H R 2 0 ( 2 0 % O F F F I R S T O R D E R ) * N E W C U S T O M E R S O N L Y R E T A I L | W H O L E S A L E M U S H R O O M L Y F E . C O M 7 6 0 - 2 3 9 - 0 2 8 5 F O R S A L E S A N D I N F O R M A T I O N S M I L Y N W E L L N E S S . C O M 7 6 0 - 2 3 9 - 0 2 8 5

Grunt Style: A Heroic Legacy of Patriotism and Healing

Dressing the American Spirit

“Who we are, to us, what you wear is more than just a necessity; it’s about attitude!” As stated on their website, Grunt Style has always been about instilling the fierce, fighting American spirit into everything they produce. With a dedicated team of nearly 400 people, their mission is to design and deliver the most patriotic apparel, ensuring that every American can wear their pride from head to toe.

However, this brand is not just about the clothes. It’s about the ethos – the unyielding commitment to freedom, the love for bacon, whiskey, and everything else that defines America. And as their iconic logo history suggests, each symbol and phrase – from the crossed 1792 Springfield muskets to the motto “This We’ll Defend” – reflects a deep-rooted reverence for America’s rich history and unwavering values.

Beyond Apparel: The Grunt Style Foundation

Founded in 2021, the Grunt Style Foundation takes the brand’s commitment to service members, veterans, and their families a step further. Recognizing the dire mental health challenges that plague the veteran community, this national nonprofit organization offers life-changing resources and experiences. Their core belief is simple yet profound: No veteran should ever be left behind.

Staggering figures underscore the urgency of their mission – in the last 20 years, 30,177 service members lost their lives not in combat but to the agony of suicide. As Tim Jensen, the President of the Grunt Style Foundation, emphasizes, “This is unacceptable.” Hence, the foundation is forging innovative paths, exploring alternative treatments like THC in Cannabis, Psilocybin, DMT, and Ayahuasca to combat PTSD and alleviate the harmful long-term effects of prescription opioids and opiates.

But the foundation’s efforts don’t stop there. Food insecurity, an often-overlooked challenge that military families face, is also at the forefront of their agenda. This Labor Day weekend, the Grunt Style Foundation aims to distribute a whopping 36 tonnes of food to active military members and their families, exemplifying their comprehensive approach to supporting our nation’s heroes.

A Leader with a Vision: Tim Jensen

Tim Jensen is not just a businessman; he’s a trailblazer. The U.S. Marines instilled in him invaluable leadership skills, shaping his journey from a serviceman to the co-owner of Grunt Style and a published author. His book, “Violent but True Bedtime Stories,” and the planned series is a testament to his dedication to preserving and sharing real military stories with a unique, tongue-in-cheek twist.

With Grunt Style’s apparel featured in over 17 retail locations and more than 4,000 wholesale outlets, including giants like Buc-ee’s, Academy, and Cabela’s, Jensen’s leadership has undoubtedly propelled the brand to great heights. Yet, at its core, Grunt Style remains committed to its roots, bolstering a lifestyle that champions patriotism and service.

A Call to Action

As we admire the vibrant, patriotic designs on Grunt Style’s apparel or browse their Instagram page, let’s not forget the deeper mission that drives this brand. Behind each t-shirt and each initiative lies a heartfelt plea – to remember, support, and uplift every American hero who has risked it all for our freedom.

Every American might not be a veteran, but every American can stand by them. Grunt Style reminds us of that duty, urging us all to defend the legacy and well-being of our nation’s bravest. This We’ll Defend.

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From the formation of the United States to the ongoing struggles that our veterans face today, Grunt Style embodies a legacy of patriotism, resilience, and unwavering commitment to America’s heroes. Grunt Style is not just a clothing brand – it’s a movement, a testament to the indomitable spirit of America’s military personnel and their families.
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Practical Risk Management Tips for Texas Hemp and Cannabis Businesses

1. Work with a knowledgeable broker and shop around when securing insurance – and be sure to secure all required coverage lines needed to protect your business.

A broker with experience securing coverage for hemp and cannabis businesses can help you negotiate the right coverage. However, its important to do your own due diligence as well. Shop various coverage lines with multiple insurers. Not all insurance companies in this space are offering a good product, and some sell insurance coverage with so many exclusions you may be left high and dry should an accident occur. A skilled coverage attorney can also help by reviewing any policy terms you have been offered, breaking down your scope of coverage, and spotting any terms you may want to negotiate to have added for your spe-

cific business needs. Often, we see companies that believe they had secured correct coverage, only to find out during an adverse event that the coverage they needed had been whittled away by an exclusion to the policy.

Be sure to do a full business analysis to understand all of the coverage lines you require to be protected in all disaster scenarios. Ensure all buildings, machinery, crop, and lots are covered, but don’t just focus on only the product, equipment, or store front–you will need all the traditional first-party and third-party insurance coverage that every other type of standard business should have. First-party coverage refers to insurance for harms that occur directly to your property or business, such as property and crop insurance, business interruption insurance, intellectual property infringement, data loss, cyber insurance,

and crime insurance. Third-party coverage covers liabilities to a third-party you may become responsible for, the most common being commercial general liability insurance. Commercial general liability generally affords protection when people get injured on your property (think “slip and fall” scenarios). Other types of insurance you likely need include commercial automobile insurance, workers’ compensation or employer liability insurance, and product liability insurance.

Should an incident arise, make sure you know which policies are triggered. Sometimes you can find surprise coverage in a policy you would not normally think would be triggered by a certain incident, so it is good practice to give each policy a quick review each time you have a potential claim.

2. Be familiar with your lease agreement and any included insurance requirements.

You should read and study your lease agreement cover to cover just like you would do with your insurance policy (and hire counsel to help you through it if resources allow). It is important that the landlord for any space you intend to rent for your hemp business understands the full purpose for which you plan to rent the space, especially any hemp cultivation or manufacturing activities. Your lease agreement governs the terms between the landlord and your business, and many of those terms relate to how risk is allocated between the parties. For example, your lease agreement should identify who is responsible for certain repairs, day to day maintenance of the building, and who owns improvements. It is also common for lease agreements to set forth certain minimum insurance requirements. Failure to adhere to the required insurance terms can put your lease at risk and reduce coverage availability. Make sure the “scope

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Though coverage options have opened up to the hemp industry in recent years, hemp is still considered a high-risk industry with special insurance considerations that those in the hemp industry should be aware of. Whether you are a farmer, processor, manufacturer, or retailer, insurance is an important risk mitigation tool for you to have to in place. This article provides an overview of practical tips for securing the right insurance coverage for your business and includes other risk management issues to assess.

of use” terms of your agreement are broad enough to encompass your business activities. Also, take note of the renewal and termination terms, and whether and how much notice is required. Counsel may be able to help negotiate lease terms in your favor such as pushing the start date of your lease to after the date your business becomes fully operational, solidifying purchase options or the right of first refusal, or reducing certain obligations required of you under the proposed lease.

It is a good idea to have counsel in negotiating the terms of a lease agreement. It is relatively common for key terms to be missed in agreements drafted among parties, which can leave parties without much direction or recourse should something go wrong. It is smart to include terms that commit your landlord to complying with all rules and regulations needed to stay compliant for your businesses’ licensing or premises’ activities. Your landlord is equally likely to want to negotiate terms for legal “outs” for things such as illegal activity, bad grow years, lack of payment, and/ or environmental violations. Landlords often also require indemnity from tenants for any liability or civil forfeiture issues.

3. Watch out for broadly written exclusions, and see if key endorsements can be added to your coverage.

Insurance policies are written in a complicated and hard to decipher format, where coverage is granted by a relatively broad coverage form, and that same coverage is then slowly stripped away by numerous exclusions and policy endorsements listed in different places throughout the policy. This is why it is important to read closely or work with coverage counsel to determine the scope of coverage your policy truly affords. For example, a broadly drafted “health hazard” exclusion in a product liability policy could remove coverage for the types of third-party injuries you would be seeking coverage for if it voids coverage for “any type” of adverse health effect resulting from the any use of your hemp product. Another one to look out for is language that bars coverage for any delta-8 or other novel cannabinoid product - many carrier forms will define “hemp” based on total THC content, not distinguishing between delta-9 and other variants. Vape-related exclusions are also common.

On the flip side, coverage counsel may also be able to help identify key coverage endorsements you can negotiate to have added to your policy. For example, a retailer selling CBD and delta-8 products would be smart to negotiate an Advertising Injury Endorsement, which protects the business from parties that claim to have been injured by an advertising claim made by the business. Make sure to ask your broker if they consider any form of false advertising claim fraudulent. This is one of those tricky areas where hemp or cannabis businesses often believe they have secured coverage – only to later find out when served with a lawsuit that the insurer will deny coverage. It is also a good idea to have an Intellectual Property Endorsement, which protects against accidental intellectual property infringement, a strict liability claim that can be costly to defend without proper coverage. Depending on the extent of your e-commerce activities, data loss coverage may also be recommended.

4. Understand the requirements of your insurance policies in the event you do need to make a claim.

All insurance policies will have specific terms within the policy you need to comply with in the event that you need to submit a claim. When an incident occurs that you think could be covered, don’t wait – most policies require you to provide prompt notice of a claim, and any significant delay could reduce or void coverage. Other terms explicitly require cooperation with the insurer’s investigation of the incident, and they will likely set forth numerous other policy conditions that must be satisfied for insurance to cover the incident. Compliance is also huge when it comes to ensuring you get the coverage you paid for – anywhere your business is out of compliance with federal, state, or local laws or

regulations puts you at risk of losing coverage should an insurable event related to your business or product arise. You should also be mindful of what actions explicitly void coverage under your policy. Insurers will often dispute coverage and reserve their right to decline coverage when there is even a small chance that an exclusion may be found to apply to your claim. When communicating with your insurer, be sure to put everything in writing. Be sure to respond fully and promptly to all insurer requests. Also, be aware of privilege issues. Assume any communications with your broker will not be privileged in a later dispute over the claim should one arise, and do not forward any legal communications with your coverage counsel to another third party. In the event your insurer responds to your claim with a denial letter, skilled coverage counsel can review the basis for the denial and often find a legal basis for why coverage should be afforded. Where necessary, coverage counsel can escalate the denial to filing a demand or suit against your insurer.

While risk management is often the last thing a company wants to think about when getting started, it is essential to the long-term success of your business and one of the most important forward-facing steps you should cover from inception. It only takes one claim or lawsuit to put your business at severe financial risk. As the age old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Making sure you have a comprehensive insurance and risk management plan in place can help keep you protected.

Rae Guyse is an associate attorney with Ritter Spencer PLLC. Rae handles matters for companies in all sectors of the hemp, cannabis, and alternative medicine industries, including manufacturers, distributors, and retailers in matters related to compliance, licensing, insurance, trademarking and litigation. Prior to joining Ritter Spencer, Rae spent over two years as an insurance recovery attorney, helping companies maximize their insurance payout in claims against their insurers. As a skilled coverage attorney, Rae can assist you in reviewing your insurance policy before you sign the dotted line to ensure proper coverage. You can reach Rae at 214-295-5070, or email admin@ritterspencer.com to schedule a consultation with her.

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The Storied Crossroads of Cannabis Genetics in TX and JOTUN

A discussion with cannabis geneticist Jared Smith, owner of Mellow Moose Farms and contributor to our present TX hemp/cannabis genetics regulations, featuring a consideration of cannabis genetics photography, consumerism + art, & JOTUN Paintball.

Nature is often reflected in art, and when it comes to certain types of photography, nature is the actual subject thereof, like landscape paintings or photos of whomever perching within or skipping across fields of Texan bluebonnets.

As Andy Warhol taught us with his thoughtful, provoking, if not profitable, juxtapositions of high art and consumer culture, certain art has mass appeal. And as I’ve found, photographic art of cannabis flowers, or rather crystal-cured “nuggets”, also has appeal, albeit on a more niche-level basis within the curious world of paintball apparel and collectible sporting goods.

JOTUN [yo-ton, Old Norse for “giant”] is the umbrella over my line of performance apparel, screen printed in TX t-shirts, JT-Proflex model compatible mask straps that also fit many snowboarding goggles, and event production/planning/ promotion. JOTUN is my GIANT living, breathing, guerilla-style installation piece exploring the intersection between consumerism, paintball sporting goods, and niche vintage fashion, dodging .68 caliber paint-filled projectiles all the while.

The mask pictured above, built of JT Paintball parts, JOTUN straps, and a JOTUN NewG Ray-Ban fade lens, is not only practical protection during paintball action but also a rare collectible coveted by many enthusiasts. This particular mask, the “Stoned Red IZE” as it has been named, is composed of parts worth over $750, given the pre-tournament heat within the buy-sell-trade market for rare/vintage JT Proflex parts at the time. Equate it to wearing rare Air Jordan sneakers worth thousand$ when playing basketball. It’s a flex-move.

JOTUN

“4:20 JOTUN Strap Series”, one of the products, above, and its application, below]

Genetics are the focus of my JOTUN 4:20 straps, as the Series features various “Harvests” of cannabis strains taken deep from within from the “Mountain-Valleyed, Sacred Cannabis Fields of JOTUNland”. This is an element of the Norse mythology I’ve injected into the lifeblood of the company (I’m “JOTUN’s Allfather”, the creator/founder of this pro-cannabis, totally Viking-oriented brand).

Are these photographs art? Is high-definition digital photography that is then sublimated onto elastic fabric, cut into mask strap dimensions, and inserted into paintball masks to hold them on, or to look cool sitting on a shelf, a form of Warholian artistry?

If selling out is the measure of success to this end, then yes, reader, after 14 months of that hard hustle, the answer there is por seguro. I hope to one day HIGH 5! Andy Warhol in hell, but until then, let’s keep talking about cannabis genetics.

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Austinite Cannabis Co. Celebrates 3 Years in Business

Clouds of smoke accented the Austin skyline as Austinite Cannabis Co. celebrated its anniversary on Lady Bird Lake.

On Aug.31, a large group of partiers boarded a double-decker boat for a bash made complete by drinks, barbecue, a live DJ and plenty of smokable party favors.

“It’s cool to be around people who support us,” said Estella Castro, who opened Austinite Cannabis Co. with her husband, Charles, in 2020. “It was kind of bigger than we expected. We were just going to celebrate with the closest homies, but then when we opened up tickets, it became kind of a thing.”

According to Estella, fostering a sense of community is what the Austinite Cannabis Co. brand is all about.

“I hope we keep having more events, more community,” she said. “Then, we might not get looked at the way we get looked at. We can end the stigma.”

Estella grew up in Buda, a Texas city south of Austin where she said the stigma toward cannabis is still strong. Soon, the Castros will open their third Texas location in nearby south Austin.

“I wanted there to be a place they could come in south,” Estella said. “We’re expand-

ing because Austin is so big. If you want to come get product from us and you live south, would you drive all the way to our house on the east side?”

Ausitnite Cannabis Co. has also established a presence in Oklahoma. They have a 24-hour store in Ardmore, as well as a new location in Marietta.

In Texas, the Castros enjoy hosting events at their flagship store, located at 2009 E. Cesar Chavez in Austin. Catch comedy shows, Bingo nights, artisan markets and fight events featuring Austinite’s growing Cannabis Combat Club.

“We’re really looking into trying to get a warehouse because our fights are starting to

gain a lot of traction, and we’ve had fighters come from all over the United States now,” Estella said, noting that Charles is a blue belt in jiu-jitsu. “It’s just been crazy.”

With fall setting in, Estella said Austinite Cannabis Co. will get back in the swing of hosting three events per month. The best place to stay informed on upcoming happenings is by following @austinitecannabis_co on Instagram.

“I want to thank everyone that was able to make it to the boat party to celebrate our anniversary of being open for three years in Austin, Texas,” Estella said. “It’s been awesome and fun so we just wanted to have a good time, and we did.”

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Live Music Food & Drinks Vendors &

Featuring performances by
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Tackling Marijuana Decriminalization In Texas: A Local Update

Activists have worked relentlessly for years at the Texas Legislature to usher in criminal justice reform for cannabis. However, the state has continued to stifle reform legislation, particularly in the Texas Senate. And so the work began to shift to local efforts.

We are quickly approaching a year since citizens of five Texas cities voted to decriminalize misdemeanor marijuana possession (no arrest under 4oz). All five passed with significant majorities, joining Austin, which had done the same thing earlier in 2022. These movements were achieved through home rule, a provision in Texas government that allows cities big enough to dictate laws that work best for their communities through their own local charter. Austin, Killeen , San Marcos, Denton, Harker Heights, and Elgin all utilized a local ballot initiative through their charters, gathering a required number of citizen signatures to be accepted by city council or voted on by the respective local community during an election. The popularity of these initiatives was overwhelming, including an

82% yes vote in San Marcos for Prop A. Such a number simply cannot be reached with out extreme bipartisan support.

Unfortunately, implementation of these ordinances has been anything but a done deal. Whereas Austin has successfully implemented and executed their decriminalization measure, The others have seen obstacle after obstacle. The city of Killeen is deeply embedded in a lawsuit with Bell County commissioners claiming the ordinance violates Texas state law. Denton implemented their ordinance on paper, but council refused to add budgetary funds to enforce it. Harker Heights council rejected the measure outright, repealing the ordinance entirely until this past May local election, when citizens held another ballot initiative to repeal the repeal. It won by literally one vote.

While these ordinance have faced stiffed challenges during implementation, it is not stopping other organizations in more conservative areas from following suit. College Station and Lubbock are the newest communities to join the efforts to decriminalize marijuana. College Station has already seen results through their campaign as

Texas A&M University police announced they would stop arresting students with two ounces of marijuana or less, completely unprompted. Of note the initiative is being led by many of the doctoral students responsible for revolutionary research into genetics and biochemistry at Texas A&M Agrilife.

Lubbock is led by Freedom Act Lubbock, which has been organizing the petition drive since early spring of 2023, hitting flyers in every smoke shop or CBD business in the city, as well as tabling at events throughout the summer. Their official campaign kickoff was Saturday August 26th, where they gathered 1000 signatures of the 4800 required, only one week into the campaign. If both groups are successful in submitting their required amount of verified signatures, both will likely be kicked to the local May elections in 2024 for citizens to vote on.

Whether or not these initiatives violate state law and cannot legally be implemented is still unresolved by the state. However, the signatures are real. The elections are real. The votes are very real, and they signal the growing popularity of ending cannabis prohibition across the great state of Texas.

Daryoush Austin Zamhariri is the Executive Director of the Texas Cannabis Collective, a 501c4 nonprofit dedicated to news/media, advocacy, and premier events focused on Texas cannabis policy, industry, and culture.

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When it comes to marijuana in Texas, the general belief is that it is highly illegal to possess. That is true for state law, and is still strictly enforced in mostly rural and more conservative parts of the state. But times are changing.
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