Cannabis Wire has uncovered that cannabis giants are lobbying in Texas, including Canopy Growth Corporation, a Canadian cannabis company that entered the U.S. market in 2019 through its “hemp industrial park” in upstate New York.
Last year, two laws were passed in Texas, the nation’s second most populous state, that are changing its cannabis landscape. On the medical cannabis side, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 3703, which greatly expanded the list of qualifying conditions. Previously, only patients with intractable epilepsy were allowed legal access to medical cannabis products, which must be high in cannabidiol and low in THC, and non-smokable. Now, the list includes multiple sclerosis, autism, terminal cancer, ALS, and Parkinson’s disease. The governor also signed into law a bill, HB 1325, to legalize hemp and hemp products, including CBD.
In other words, the state’s cannabis and hemp market has expanded.
Canopy Growth has hired the Colorado-based firm Vicente Sederberg to lobby in Texas throughout 2020, according to the latest disclosures. Columbia Care, a multi-state cannabis operator with licenses in states like New York and Florida, is now lobbying in Texas, too, disclosures show. In addition, at a time when MedMen, another multi-state operator with footprints in states like New York and California, has been cutting back its cannabis operations, the company is registered to lobby in Texas through 2020. (In response to Cannabis Wire inquiry, Esther Song, MedMen’s SVP of marketing and communications, said: “I can confirm that we are no longer actively lobbying in Texas.”)
Texas has licensed just three companies to serve its limited medical cannabis market, and none of these companies hold such licenses. However, Surterra (now Parallel) is one of the three licensed companies, and Surterra has been lobbying in the state since 2017. The other two companies licensed are Fluent (Cansortium), and Compassionate Cultivation; both are also lobbying.
Several hemp companies also registered to lobby in the state, including Bayou City Hemp, Blue Dog Hemp Company, and Hempliance. Also on the list to lobby: Texas NORML, Texas Hemp Industries Association, Texas Hemp Education Organization, and Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism.