By Jill A. Gautreaux

Effective June 6, 2019, Act 164 of the 2019 regular session of the Louisiana legislature legalized the use of Cannabidol (CBD) for certain applications.  The Act permits the use of industrial hemp, which was declassified from being a Schedule 1 controlled dangerous substance by the US Congress last year in the 2018 Farm Bill.  Industrial hemp is derived from the Cannabis Sativa L species of plant, exclusive of the plants of Genus Cannabis that meet the definition of marijuana, as defined by La. R.S. 40:961.

The Louisiana Legislature recognizes industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity and has authorized its cultivation.  Industrial hemp growers must be either a USDA-licensed hemp grower or licensed by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry and registered with the Louisiana Department of Health and Human Services in accordance with Louisiana’s Food, Drug and Cosmetic law.  The rules and regulations governing the cultivation of industrial hemp will be promulgated once the USDA rules on the subject are promulgated. The CBD product cannot be used as an inhalant or in alcoholic beverages and food products (unless and until approved by the FDA), or claim to be a dietary supplement.  The CBD product is subject to specific labeling requirements, including having a disclaimer that the product has not been evaluated by the FDA and having a scannable bar code that links the product with its certificate of analysis.  CBD must have a concentration of not more than 0.3% of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabidol (THC) by dry weight basis.  Lab analysis of the CBD product must be performed to insure compliance with regulations and a certificate of analysis must be filed with the Louisiana Department of Health and Human Services.

The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) has been charged with the licensing of wholesalers and retailers of CBD products.  A list of the wholesalers’ and retailers’ registered products must be provided to the ATC.  The application to become a CBD wholesaler or retailer is now available from the ATC, but formal rules and regulations to govern such licensees are not yet promulgated.  The application/annual licensing fee is $175.00.

Sales of CBD products will be subject to a three (3%) percent tax rate, in addition to applicable State and local sales taxes.  The additional taxes have been earmarked for the Early Childhood Education Fund.