BATON ROUGE – Hemp-derived CBD oil products have been sold over-the-counter in Louisiana stores for months now despite technically being Schedule I narcotics. Law enforcement has rarely cracked down while state lawmakers are close the legalizing and regulating the murky industry.
Hemp is in the same species of cannabis plants as marijuana but with only trace amounts of the intoxicating chemical THC. CBD, or cannabidiol, is another chemical found in both hemp and marijuana.
CBD is not intoxicating and not known to have serious side effects.
Many in Louisiana consume or apply hemp-derived CBD oil products for a number of ailments. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is seeking to regulate the products and recently called on CBD producers to provide more evidence of the supposed therapeutic benefits.
Saturday the Louisiana State Senate approved a bill, HB491, to legalize hemp cultivation and hemp-derived CBD oil products. After crossing major hurdles in Senate committees, the bill now has to be concurred in the House and signed by the governor.
The House already approved the bill once before with near unanimous support and Governor John Bel Edwards has said he will sign it.
Hemp-derived CBD oil products will be officially legal in Louisiana after the Governor signs the bill, according to its author Rep. Clay Schexnayder (R-Gonzales).
The bill creates a regulatory system for hemp cultivation and CBD oil products.
The Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commision would regulate retailers selling CBD. The Louisiana Department of Health would regulate product labeling.
CBD food and drink additives would remain illegal, per current FDA regulations. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry would regulate hemp cultivation and test crops to ensure THC levels are 0.3% or below.
Louisiana’s regulations will also be submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for approval.
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