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District attorneys throughout Texas haven’t prosecuted low-level marijuana offenses for the past few months because their forensic labs can’t tell the difference between legal hemp and marijuana.

Officials with the State of Texas, working with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said it has found a solution. But at the recent Texas Marijuana Policy Conference in Austin, some prosecutors said they’re still not convinced to make possession charges a priority. 


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Earlier this summer, Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson did something unusual for an elected prosecutor. She dropped the charges in 234 cases all at once.

Shelby Knowles / The Texas Tribune

Texas’ largest law enforcement agency is moving away from arresting people for low-level marijuana offenses. It’s the latest development in the chaos that has surrounded pot prosecution after state lawmakers legalized hemp this year.

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The scientists think they’ve come up with a solution to Texas’ pot problem.

Forensic and crime lab experts are optimistic state and local officials will support a new proposal that would allow for a faster, cheaper way to test suspected marijuana under the state’s new definition of the drug.

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This week, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office dismissed about 235 misdemeanor marijuana possession cases. It was an unusual move, and a response to changes in state law earlier this month.

The Food and Drug Administration is holding its first public hearing on CBD, the cannabis extract that has quickly grown into a billion-dollar industry. Today's hearing will help officials determine how to regulate CBD products.

The compound can be extracted from marijuana or from hemp. It's promoted as a way to ease anxiety and inflammation – and it doesn't get people high because it doesn't contain THC, the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.

House Bill 1325 from state Rep. Tracy King, D-Batesville, would allow farmers in the state to legally grow industrial hemp.
Juan Figueroa/The Texas Tribune

The Texas House gave broad preliminary approval Tuesday to a bill that would allow farmers in the state to legally grow industrial hemp — a move lauded as a win for the state’s farmers.

The non-psychoactive component of marijuana is the latest craze in alternative medicine. Even Walgreens and CVS plan to sell CBD products. But there's one group that has yet to cash in on the CBD fever: Texas farmers.

A hemp plant is pollinated in Springfield, Ore., in April 2018. For Texas farmers, growing hemp will present some challenges. One is that it's delicate: Farmers who used pesticides in the past on crops like cotton will need to invest in soil remediation.
Associated Press

Kris Taylor was accepted into medical school. But instead of becoming a doctor, the Texan moved to California to pursue something he was really passionate about. Hemp.