The Texas Supreme Court on Friday ruled to uphold a state ban on smokable hemp products, according to a Jurist report. The court rejected an argument by hemp companies that the ban violated article 1, section 19 of the state constitution which states: “[n]o citizen of this State shall be deprived of life, liberty, property, privileges or immunities, or in any manner disfranchised, except by the due course of the law of the land.”
The court ruled that “the due-course clause does not protect the interest the plaintiffs assert,” concluding that, since Texas has a “long history” of prohibiting and regulating the plant, “the manufacture and processing of smokable hemp products is neither a liberty interest nor a vested property interest the due-course clause protects.” Smokable hemp product manufacturing and processing, the court said, is “‘purely a personal privilege’” which the legislature may “grant or withdraw as they see fit.”
“Even if there had been a few months during which the manufacture of smokable hemp was lawful, this brief window would have existed only by a temporary administrative quirk in the process of the substance’s partial ‘decriminalization,’” the ruling states. “Such a fleeting ‘right’ was in no sense ‘vested’ in the Companies, which had, at most, mere anticipation that the government would allow a right it created to continue in existence. Nor would the uncertain state of the law for a few months transform the long-prohibited manufacture of smokable cannabis flower into the kind of ‘lawful calling’ to which courts have afforded constitutional protection.”
The decision permits a previous trial court decision to stand, allowing the state to continue enforcing its ban.