The Supreme Court of Texas Friday ruled to uphold a state ban that “prohibits the processing and manufacturing of smokable hemp products.”
Four hemp companies argued that this state ban was unconstitutional, based on article 1, section 19 of the Texas Constitution, which states that “[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.” In response to this argument, the trial court permanently enjoined the Texas Department of State Health Services from enforcing the ban. The department then appealed the decision directly to the Texas Supreme Court.
The Texas Supreme Court held that “the due-course clause does not protect the interest the plaintiffs assert,” and thus upheld the state hemp ban and reversed the trial court’s judgment. The court discussed the definitions of “liberty” and “property” interests and concluded that “the manufacture and processing of smokable hemp products is neither a liberty interest nor a vested property interest the due-course clause protects.” Thus, smokable hemp product manufacturing and processing is “‘purely a personal privilege'” which the legislature may “grant or withdraw as they see fit.”
The Texas Supreme Court also issued a concurrence, stating that Texas’ due course clause was synonymous with the federal due process clause.