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Austin’s first-ever Texas Hemp Harvest Festival celebrates growth of marijuana’s cousin

Austin’s first Hemp Harvest Festival celebrates marijuana’s cousin

Greg and Tracy Autry
Greg and Tracy Autry, the founders of Sweet Sensi CBD, devised the fest as a way to "bring farmers, processors, manufacturers, and retailers together to present our products and services to the people of Texas." Texas Hemp Harvest Festival/Facebook

Festival season in Austin has a pretty dope new addition: a one-day festival featuring music and highlighting a cousin of marijuana.

The first-ever Texas Hemp Harvest Festival is set for 10 am-11 pm October 23 at Carson Creek Ranch, a 58-acre event venue in eastern Travis County. Musical acts scheduled to perform include Jamaican reggae and hip-hop artist Ky-Mani Marley, son of the legendary Bob Marley; country musician Gary P. Nunn; and country music band The Derailers.

Sweet Sensi, an Austin-based seller of “artisanal” CBD products, is staging the “family-friendly festival.” The event will offer food trucks, beverages for adults and children, vendor displays, and games.

The festival also will put on a “Battle of the Buds” competition. Anonymous judges will vote for their favorites in four categories of hemp products made in Texas: flower/pre-rolls, edibles, topicals, and tinctures/capsules.

Organizers say the festival is being produced by farmers, processors, manufacturers, and retailers to celebrate the hemp harvest in Texas. In 2020, the state saw its first legal hemp harvest in more than 80 years, the Austin Chronicle says.

According to the HempGrower website, 891 hemp growers and 40 hemp processors are licensed to operate in Texas. The state’s hemp crop encompasses almost 5,800 acres and nearly 15.6 million square feet of indoor grow space.

Texas allows the growing of hemp, but only if the plants’ THC count is below 0.30 percent. THC is the main compound that causes users of marijuana to get high. Most hemp-derived CBD products contain less than 0.30 percent THC. Hemp and marijuana are both members of the cannabis family of plants.

CBD, which doesn’t make users high, is the second-most-active ingredient in cannabis, according to Harvard Health Publishing. CBD users report taking CBD to ease symptoms of conditions like anxiety, depression, insomnia, and chronic pain, The New York Times says.

“As an alternative crop, the hemp industry in Texas is still in its infancy,” says Calvin Trostle, statewide hemp specialist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. “There is a massive amount of education going on, but we’re still trying to determine what varieties are adaptive so that we can help producers avoid headaches.”