Hemp States to Watch 2022: Louisiana

By Andrea Golan and Ariane Beckman

Jul 25, 2022

Continuing our look over the hemp horizon and keeping a close eye on key states to watch in 2022, this article focuses on recent hemp-related legislation in Louisiana.

Act No. 498 (HB 758), signed by Governor Edwards on June 16, 2022, and effective immediately, amends Louisiana's hemp law by setting maximum THC limits per serving and per package and requires consumers to be at least 21 to purchase a product that contains more than 0.5 milligrams of total THC. 

The Act creates the following age restrictions:

  • Prohibits the sale of all consumable hemp products* to anyone under the age of 18

  • Permits the sale of products with more than .5 mg of total THC per package to adults aged 21 and over, which, by definition, includes most full-spectrum and some broad-spectrum hemp extract products

The Act also sets forth the following maximum serving and package limits on THC:

  • A consumable hemp product cannot exceed 8 mg of total THC per serving, 0.3% Delta-9 THC, or a total THC concentration of 1%

  • Floral hemp material cannot exceed 0.3% delta-9 THC or total THC of more than 1% on a dry weight basis 

The Act allows retailers already registered with the Louisiana Department of Health to continue selling products exceeding the new THC limits until January 1, 2023

*"Consumable hemp product" means any product derived from industrial hemp that contains any cannabinoid, including cannabidiol, and is intended for consumption or topical use. As a reminder, hemp intended for inhalation, with the exception of hemp rolling papers, is not permitted for sale. 

These various restrictions make it challenging for both retailers and enforcement to understand how to comply with and enforce Louisiana's hemp rules and regulations.

In particular, allowing consumable hemp products below 8 mg per serving but prohibiting adding consumable hemp products to food and beverages creates an ambiguous and puzzling overlap of regulations. Essentially, pre-packaged food and beverages with CBD are allowed. However, a retailer cannot add consumable hemp products to their own food or beverage in the store. For example, a coffee shop cannot add CBD to a latte just before handing the drink to a customer, but they could sell pre-packaged CBD and lattes separately, and a customer could add the CBD themselves. 

Additionally, retailers (including remote sellers), wholesalers, and processors must be licensed to sell or process consumable hemp products and any hemp-derived CBD product distributed in the state must be registered with the Louisiana Department of Health, creating additional costs and steps to sell or process consumable hemp products. 

To create a thriving hemp market in Louisiana, legislators should clarify the Act's language before the current January 1, 2023 deadline.

If you have questions about Louisiana Act No. 498, don't hesitate to get in touch with VS's hemp team.

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