Governor John Bel Edwards signed the legislation into law on June 6. The bill only authorizes the sale of hemp-derived CBD products with a THC concentration of less than 0.3%. Hemp and CBD are still banned from being used in food and drinks.
Products sold at the retail level must obtain a permit prior to sale from the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control.
Baton Rouge — With the passage of House Bill 491, the Louisiana Legislature legalized the sale of hemp and hemp-derived cannabidiol products, more commonly called CBD.
With the legalization of CBD, the Louisiana Department of Health will take an active role in the regulation of the product. On Tuesday, the Department has the responsibility of permitting manufacturers and registering labels for wholesale food and drug products.
According to officials with the Department’s Office of Public Health, CBD products manufactured, distributed, imported or sold for use in the state of Louisiana are required to be produced from hemp grown in accordance with standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. CBD products must be labeled in accordance with Louisiana’s Food, Drug and Cosmetic Law.
Nevertheless, the challenge of regulating CBD products looms large. This is because of the current federal law which puts cannabis in the same narcotics category as LSD and ecstasy. This is also due to the new restrictions introduced by House Bill 491. This bill made the edible and drinkable versions of CBD illegal and placing strict regulations on retailers that sell CBD.
This was also five years after Oregon decriminalized marijuana and more than a decade before California voted to fully legalize medical marijuana. However, this law had a very small effect. It only allowed medical marijuana for patients who either had glaucoma or were undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment. This law also created the Marijuana Prescription Board. The secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources in the state appointed the board members.
Finally, in June 2019, Louisiana Governor Bel Edwards signed House Bill 491 into law. This allowed the production, distribution, and sale of hemp-derived CBD products, such as pills, oils, and even injections. Products must have less than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. As most people know, this is the compound responsible for the “high” feeling that most people associate with using marijuana. This mirrored the passage of the Agricultural Improvement Act in 2018. It created the framework for growing hemp and producing products derived from the plant, such as CBD oil.
What Makes CBD Legal in Louisiana?
There is increasing support for the decriminalization and legalization of cannabis in the entire United States. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act in 2019 could change the legality of recreational marijuana in Louisiana. Whether recreational marijuana would be fully legal or not would depend on the US Congress for now.
While the state has taken slow steps in completely legalizing the use of medical marijuana, the development of decriminalization and even the legalization of recreational marijuana in Louisiana has been even slower. Louisiana had one of the strictest and harshest recreational marijuana restrictions in the United States. Possessing around or less than 14 grams of recreational marijuana in the state could mean staying in prison for 15 days and/or paying a $300 fine.
Louisiana was not the first state to declare cannabis as illegal in the United States. However, it joined the likes of North Dakota and Oklahoma when these two states banned the drug. Soon, 29 other states followed suit and passed their own legislation. Louisiana voted to pass a revised statute (Title 40, Section 966) which penalized the use and distribution of marijuana and other drugs, such as heroin. The exact year when Louisiana criminalized the use of marijuana is still up for debate. Some say it was as early as 1924 or as late as 1927. Nevertheless, here is a quick rundown on the history of marijuana in Louisiana. This will help to highlight the path to the current legal status of CBD.
Then in 2014, Republican senator Fred Mills authored Senate Bill 541. This bill sought to define how Louisiana would grow and distribute medical marijuana and how prescriptions would work. The Louisiana Sheriff Association and Louisiana Attorney General caused the bill to fail. Still, Fred Mills continued to fight for the complete legalization of medical marijuana in the state.
There are no limits on how much hemp-derived CBD a person can possess in Louisiana. However, there are a number of restrictions on the types of CBD products that can legally be sold and purchased. Louisiana’s rules conform to rules established by the FDA. It is currently illegal to sell the following types of CBD:
At the time, this put Louisiana at odds with the federal law established by the 2018 Farm Bill. HB 491 was passed in order to address this discrepancy.. For the most part, this bill brought Louisiana state law into alignment with federal rules. The most important rules established in HB 491 include:
When purchasing from a retailer, especially if it’s a CBD specialist, you can typically get in-person help and expertise from an employee. Explain what you’re looking for and why you are consuming CBD and they can point you in the right direction.
Louisiana CBD laws
That began to change in early 2019, when the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy and the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) started notifying businesses selling CBD that what they were doing was illegal. According to these agencies, it was illegal to sell CBD in Louisiana because the state did not make any distinction between marijuana and hemp. Before HB 491 was passed, Louisiana law enforcement simply lumped all forms of the cannabis plant together as a single illegal substance.
The Farm Bill also granted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with authority to regulate CBD’s labeling, therapeutic claims, and its use as a food additive. Despite the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the FDA has taken the stance that even hemp-derived CBD may not be added to food and beverages, nor marketed as dietary supplements. While the FDA has begun a process of re-evaluating its stance, it has yet to revise its rules or specifically regulate CBD products, leading to further confusion. The FDA has been strict when it comes to health claims and content that could be construed as medical advice about CBD.
CBD is the second-most-prevalent cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant behind THC. Generally speaking, THC produces marijuana’s intoxicating effects, while CBD is non-intoxicating and is thought to be responsible for a wide range of the plant’s therapeutic and medicinal qualities.
As research remains ongoing, there is a growing body of evidence pointing to CBD’s potential efficacy in medical applications and as a health supplement.