Earlier this June, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed into law a bill proposing to limit hemp products legality. Now, any sale or possession of smokable hemp products will be met with penalties, as well as beverages or foods containing CBD. Ironically enough, Louisiana had just rolled out its industrial hemp program last year and, until federal authorities approved CBD as a food additive, this program did not include any form of CBD-based product that could have been orally consumed, be it by smoking or ingesting.
Being one of the first three states that received the federal approval for state production, Louisiana kickstarted the applications for hemp farmers and handlers since February 2020.
This new regulation provides guidelines for the production and processing of industrial hemp in Louisiana, from definitions, to licensing requirements and fees, testing, labeling and R&D. It also drafts out the structure for the state’s Industrial Hemp Advisory Committee.
The commissioner of the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, which is now the department overseeing the licensing of businesses for the sale of CBD products, now has the authority to issue certain civil fines. Therefore, under the new law, those who violate regulations will be met with a fine as high as $300 for the first offense, with increases up to $1,000 for the second violation and up to $5,000 for further recidivism.
This newly-implemented law also gives the green-light to agriculture regulators to issue stop orders to businesses as a result of failure in complying with the norms. These orders are meant to halt sale, movement, processing or distribution of hemp plants or plant parts, and give the affected business a maximum 30 days to meet the standards in order to obtain a release of the order, or else be fined and punished according to the law.