In Reliably Red Texas, Cannabis Entrepreneurs Hope For Green – Houston Public Media

Marijuana plants named for state Rep. Stephanie Klick, are seen in a flowering room under sodium grow lights at Compassionate Cultivation, a licensed medical cannabis cultivator and dispensary, on Dec. 14, 2017, in Manchaca, Texas.

As state after state loosens laws on the sale of marijuana, a whole industry has sprung up to serve the fast-growing market for cannabis and related products.
Even in Texas, which hasn’t legalized marijuana, some entrepreneurs are planting their flags early, wagering that the Lone Star State will one day have its own “green rush.”

For legal reasons, they operate mainly on the periphery of the industry. But there’s plenty of business to be had — selling everything from cannabis oil tinctures to the flooring used in greenhouses that grow marijuana.

Along with the typical challenges of any business, companies that work in the cannabis industry in Texas must navigate conflicting state and federal laws, risk backlash from banks and state agencies, and overcome the stigma of selling a product that some consider dangerous or taboo.

But being a part of a young and thriving industry also comes with a shot of adrenaline, said Peter Ricca, executive chairman of Ricca Chemical. In the late 1970s, Ricca’s father founded the Arlington company, which makes industrial testing kits used for quality control by Fortune 500 food and beverage companies. About two years ago, it began getting phone calls from West Coast cannabis companies looking for products they could use for extracting cannabis oil and testing the quality of their products.

Now the company sells testing kits for the cannabis industry and blends terpenes — organic compounds found in plants like basil, lemons and rose petals — that can be added to cannabis products to create unique flavors and aromas.

“If you buy into this and say cannabis is

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