May 18, 2022

Legislative Sausage-Making, Cajun Style!

Legislative Sausage-Making, Cajun Style!

Over the years, we’ve been sharing with you how similar legislative processes can be to sausage-making: You don’t want to watch as the ingredients are mixed together.

Nowhere has this been more apparent than in Louisiana, where the Cajun sausage-making process has led to confusing legal and regulatory regimes for the hemp and CBD industries. For example, Louisiana is the only state in the nation to prohibit the use of the word “dietary” on CBD products, leading to confusion and unnecessary label changes.

This year has been no exception. We previously alerted you to Louisiana HB 758, a bill that prohibits adding a consumable hemp product to foods or beverages and sets THC serving size and package limits, and asked you to urge legislators to amend it or defeat it.

The legislature listened. Sort of. The good news is that a recent Senate amendment deleted the worst provision in the bill, which would have basically banned the sale of non-intoxicating full-spectrum hemp products in the state. It also removed a definition of artificially-derived cannabinoids that could have led to the ban of non-intoxicating products such as CBN.

Unfortunately, the bill continues to prohibit adding a consumable hemp product to foods or beverages (which the legislature just approved last year!). Additionally, it sets up a series of age restrictions that will likely confuse retailers and consumers:

  • All consumable hemp products would be prohibited for sale to persons under the age of 18.
  • Products with more than 0.5 mg of total THC per package, which includes most full-spectrum and some broad-spectrum hemp extract products, would be prohibited for sale to persons under age of 21.

The bill also completely prohibits “edible” hemp products with more than 8 mg of total THC per serving, tinctures with more than 100 mg total THC per package, and all products with a total THC concentration that exceeds 1%.

Clear as mud? At least the bill provides create a sell-through period, allowing products that exceed the THC limits and that are currently registered with the Department of Health to be sold until January 1, 2023.

Louisiana Hemp Supporters are encouraged to use our State Action Center to urge lawmakers to substitute this confusing approach with the approach adopted recently by Colorado: developing a task force, including representation of the hemp industry, to develop scientifically-based standards for determining intoxication levels. We might not be able to get them to change the legislation now, but hopefully, we can get them to revisit this before the sell-through period ends next year.