SMITH COUNTY, Texas — The Texas 2019 Legislative session has recently passed House Bill 1325, to legalizes the farming of industrial hemp. Governor Greg Abbott has signed HB 1325 into law.
The law has caused some confusion amongst law enforcement about enforcing the law and what that means for the laws on marijuana.
Many larger counties in Texas have changed how they prosecute marijuana cases by not bringing charges for smaller amounts. Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putman says while the law is going to make it more difficult for law enforcement, they will still be prosecuting the small amounts of marijuana.
"I think there's definitely complicates the issue for law enforcement. It was much more clear cut before," Putman said.
Clear cut in what constitutes probable cause and what does not.
Now, a leafy green substance is not exactly a probable cause because the difference in the appearance of marijuana and hemp are minuscule.
Another sign could be the smell because hemp is not meant to be smoked, and it can even be what is in the product.
"If someone had something claiming to be hemp, and it was packaged with rolling papers and things that was clearly being used to be smoked that's most likely not hemp," Smith County Chief Deputy Jimmy Jackson said.
If someone does get pulled over with items they claim to be hemp, they must be able to provide documents.
"If you're going to grow or process or manufacturer hemp, you have to have a license from the state," Putman said. "If you're going to transport hemp, you're going to have a certified cargo manifest showing how much hemp you're transporting and where it's going to. "And that it's been grown and manufactured in compliance with the new law."