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April 30, 2024 0 Comments

Bills Would Restrict Consumable Hemp in Louisiana

The Louisiana Legislature, currently in the regular session for 2024, announced Senate Bill 237, if passed, would prohibit businesses in Louisiana from selling consumable hemp containing any THC. This would eliminate the sale of hemp-derived beverages, gummies, and other consumables. Currently, from 0.5 milligrams up to 8 milligrams are allowed in “adult use” consumable hemp products in the state.

Senate Bill 237

Essentially, SB 237 seeks to restrict hemp to industrial uses only and make any adult use consumable help illegal in Louisiana. “We’re seeing kids in particular get these products and I think it’s our duty and responsibility as legislators to ensure safety. I’m very concerned about that, and this is a starting point of a negotiation and a discussion,” said Sen. Thomas Pressly, (R) Shreveport, one of the sponsors of the bill.

According to the Louisiana Office of Alcohol & Tobacco Control, nearly 1,400 retailers, including traditional and remote sellers, have permits to sell consumable hemp products statewide, and 110 entities hold a wholesale permit.

House Bill 952

HB 952, sponsored by Rep. Dustin Miller, an Opelousas Democrat, also addresses consumable hemp in Louisiana and seeks to retain parts of existing law while proposing changes to more closely regulate its use. While the present law allows purchase by anyone 18 or older, the proposed law would raise the age to 21. Present law requires hemp retailers to obtain a certificate of analysis for each product label approved by the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH).

The proposed law tasks LDH with establishing requirements and standards for the independent labs that generate the certificate of analysis. In addition, while current law allows consumable hemp products to be displayed within reach of customers, the proposed law would require any consumable hemp products to be displayed behind the counter and all those who purchase must present proof of age, much like laws regulating the purchase of cigarettes.

The bill would only allow one serving per container for THC beverages, at the current maximum of 8 milligrams of THC. Currently, some products are being sold in larger containers with 100 milligrams, intended for multiple servings.

Joe Gerrity, CEO of Crescent Canna, a company that sells consumable hemp products nationwide, stated, “We’re eager to work with the state to find a middle ground that allows for our products to remain legal.” The majority of hemp producers and retailers support the passage of this bill instead of the total ban proposed by SB 237.

As of this writing, the House passed House Bill 952 75-23. If the bill is signed into law, it will take effect August 1, 2024.

What This Means for Medical Marijuana Patients

This will not affect medical marijuana patients in Louisiana in any way. Only those who purchase, produce, or sell consumable hemp will be affected by the passage of either of these bills. Industrial hemp production and sales may be impacted indirectly by reduced demand for consumable hemp products but anything related to non-consumable, industrial-use hemp will otherwise not be affected.