Louisiana takes step toward legalizing hemp, CBD products

WWL Newsroom
May 21, 2019 - 4:50 pm

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A bill to legalize hemp and CBD products in Louisiana cleared a Senate Agriculture Committee vote, but lawmakers in Baton Rouge passed several regulatory amendments.

The committee's chairman, Sen. Francis Thompson (D-Delhi), opposed the bill until the amendments were added.

"There will be no shenanigans with marijuana being grown and hemp being used as a front for illegal activity," said Thompson. 

The CBD regulations require that cannabidiol can only be sold in products that follow federal guidelines -- guidelines the federal government hasn't even set, yet.

Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Strain supported the regulations -- such as testing plants within two weeks of harvest for the presence of THC. THC is what gets marijuana users high. Hemp does not have THC.

"Randomly and annually inspect the crop, and we must have a mechanism in place, approved by the USDA, for the destruction of any plant with over .3 percent THC," Strain said. 

The bill's next stop is the Senate floor. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says he backs industrial hemp production, and if signed into law, Louisiana growers could start as early as 2020.

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