I recently was honored to spend a weekend with Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller at the Flying Bull Ranch to discuss the new hemp program in our state. I represented Texas veterans along with my longtime friend and fellow medical marijuana advocate, Air Force veteran Anita Sommers, AKA the CBD Genie. We were guests of Mrs. Laura Berry and Mason Berry. Our friend, Aseem Ali from Alamo Remedy, was there with a video crew to document the event. The gathering of approximately twenty- five people represented individuals from all areas of the future hemp industry in Texas. These included researchers from Texas A&M, a representative of a 300 farm co-op in South Texas, an entrepreneur who is manufacturing soda six pack rings made of biodegradable hemp material, an engineer with expertise in milling operations and other people with fascinating expertise. We spent the weekend networking and sharing ideas about the bright future of hemp in the Lone Star state.
Of course, the guest of honor was Sid Miller, the man responsible for making the new hemp industry in Texas a success. The 2018 Farm Bill passed by Congress legalized the commercial production of hemp. Texas House Bill 1325, signed into law by Governor Abbott on June 10, 2019, authorizes the production, manufacture, retail sale, and inspection of industrial hemp products. At lunch on Saturday, Commissioner Miller discussed the challenges he and his staff have faced getting the hemp industry up and running. Commissioner Miller said that the most important action he took was to appoint a Texas Hemp Advisory Council. This group brings expertise from many different areas to bear on the challenge of starting a new industry from scratch. These individuals with expertise in law, agriculture, business, lab testing and other skills advise Commissioner Miller on best practices to make our fledgling hemp industry successful. Commissioner Miller said, “We want to work at the speed of a corporation, not at the speed of government.” By that, Commissioner Miller means that he prioritizes his agency being responsive to Texas farmers and entrepreneurs and wants to cut through red tape and unnecessary bureaucratic delays to ensure that people who want to enter this industry can do so expeditiously and with confidence that state government supports their investments.
Commissioner Miller emphasized that the hemp program is more than just putting seeds in the ground and growing hemp plants. There will be a whole new industry in Texas with thousands of new jobs. These new jobs include farming, manufacturing, transportation, real estate, security, lab testing, medicine and many other trades and skills needed by the industry. Of course, as a veteran, I am very interested in all of the new job opportunities that will be afforded to our veterans by hemp. I am also excited by the potential for CBD products derived from hemp that can be used as medicine by veterans with serious service related medical conditions. Veterans testify that CBD products help them to relieve chronic pain from injuries and wounds, symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury and other service connected medical conditions. Commissioner Miller told us that he is a rodeo rider and CBD products help his chronic pain from rodeo injuries. It was a beautiful weekend at the ranch with a lot of time outdoors in nature. It was exciting to see hemp plants thriving in Texas soil at the ranch. I believe that the hemp and CBD industries in Texas have a bright future. Texas veterans are proud to work with Alamo Remedy to make the new hemp program in Texas a big success. God bless Texas!