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IS CBD OIL LEGAL IN LOUISIANA?
You can stroll down Bourbon Street with a neon green adult beverage called a “Hand Grenade” that’s served in a foot-long to-go cup shaped like a weapon, but can you smoke a joint? You can visit one of the many voodoo practitioners in the bayou hoping to find something to “cure what ails ya,” but can you procure medical marijuana products? And what about cannabidiol products, including CBD oil, from federally legal hemp plants? In a place known for its strange state laws, are hemp derived CBD products legal in Louisiana?
The 2018 Farm Bill redefined the cannabis hemp plant and made hemp plants with low THC concentration legal by federal law. This led to the rise of a new CBD industry practically overnight. But, different states still have different laws regarding hemp and marijuana. The Farm Bill declared that hemp derived CBD products are legal, so long as the CBD products in question contain less than 0.3 percent THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
If you’re a resident of the Pelican State or just planning a visit to Crescent City, what can you expect? Can you smoke pot in the French Quarter? Can you buy CBD oil in Louisiana, or bring your CBD oil with you? What are Louisiana CBD laws like? This post has the low-down, cher!
LOUISIANA HEMP HISTORY
Louisiana has been connected to the American hemp industry since the late 18th century, when New Orleans was under Spanish control. Flatboats from Kentucky began arriving with all sorts of goods from the American frontier — whiskey, furs, tobacco, and industrial hemp. That means Kentucky hemp plants have been in New Orleans since just shortly after the Court of Spain opened river commerce on December 1, 1788.1
Kentucky hemp was valuable in New Orleans for two important industries: rope for the shipping industry, and twine and bagging to support the cotton industry in the Deep South.2 “In the matter of hemp… New Orleans has great opportunities, for it handles the Kentucky product,” according to the Standard History of New Orleans, published in 1900.3
At some point, hemp plants became valuable for something else besides being an economical source of sturdy fiber. The good people of New Orleans seem to be among the first Americans to understand the value of smoking the female flowers from the hemp cannabis plant.
By the 1930’s, New Orleans and the state of Louisiana were at the forefront of the jazz-age marijuana industry. This made New Orleans a focal point for racist anti-marijuana laws. To give a sense of the marijuana trade in New Orleans in 1930: of the 14,230 “cigarettes” made from the marijuana plant were seized by law enforcement in America that year, 10,129 of them came from Louisiana.4
This is probably because of marijuana’s early connection to jazz musicians. “According to this writer, the ‘Reefer Man’ is just about as real and important to Cab Calloway and other night club and theatrical entertainers as the mailman is to the average American family…” according to The Health Officer, published in 1936. That’s a good example of the racist language used to demonize hemp in the media, which contributed to the nationwide prohibition of cannabis.5
LOUISIANA AND MARIJUANA LAWS
In 2016, the New Orleans City Council unanimously passed an ordinance to decriminalize marijuana possession in the Crescent City. While people can still be arrested under state law, statistics show that arrests have plummeted since the decriminalization within city limits. The rest of the state, however, has seen arrests related to marijuana climb.6
Louisiana's medical marijuana program began in a limited capacity in 2019, signed into law by Gov. John Bel Edwards. In 2020, Louisiana expanded the law to allow doctors to recommend medical cannabis for any medical condition the physician “considers debilitating to an individual patient” that the physician is qualified to treat.7
The medical marijuana law of 2020, HB 819, was sponsored by Rep. Larry Bagley (R-D7) who had been opposed to medical cannabis until he heard from his constituents in Caddo, DeSoto, and Sabine parishes. Now, Rep. Bagley is a champion of medical marijuana and an excellent example of how politicians should respond to the needs of their constituents.8
Gov. John Bel Edwards, at the same time in 2020, signed a few additional helpful laws: one that protects the banks who serve medical cannabis businesses, and another that protects physicians who recommend medical marijuana to patients.
In 2021, Gov. Edwards repealed the state’s ban on herbal cannabis for medically authorized patients. The new law goes into effect on Jan 1, 2022. The state’s access program currently limits patients to non-inhaled forms of cannabis, like infused oils.
The acceptance of medical marijuana by the general public has had a large part in reforming the stigmas associated with hemp and marijuana plants. Civiqs Research found that 64 percent of Louisiana residents are in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana.9
In 2021, Edwards signed a decriminalization bill in June for possession of 14 grams or less of marijuana in Louisiana.
LOUISIANA AND CBD LAWS
As with many states, hemp products like CBD oil existed in a legal gray area between the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, and the passage of individual states' cannabis laws. For Louisiana, that process began in 2019.
At the start of 2019, sales of CBD products were booming in New Orleans and across Louisiana, since there was little-to-no oversight for the sale of hemp products. But in early 2019, the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy and the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control issued public notices warning their licensees that the sale of hemp derived CBD oil products in Louisiana was illegal.10
To remedy this situation, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed House Bill 491 which legalized the sale of hemp and hemp derived CBD products in June 2019. The Louisiana Department of Health now regulates CBD products to protect Louisiana's citizens and ensure that they contain the federally legal limit of less than 0.3% THC.11
That’s the good news for most CBD products. The bad news is that in summer of 2020, Louisiana state legislature rolled out penalties for those who posses or sell CBD products that are smokable. There is also a ban on alcoholic beverages containing CBD oil, and on food and beverages containing hemp and CBD oil. This ban will remain in place until the US Food and Drug Administration approves CBD oil as a food additive. But no word on when to expect a change in the legal status of smokable CBD flower.
CAN I GET CBD OIL MAILED TO ME IN LOUISIANA?
Yes! It's legal to buy and sell CBD by federal law, so the U.S. Postal Service can legally deliver hemp derived CBD oil right to your door.12
You may find hemp derived CBD products at gas stations or convenience stores, but it's unlikely anyone will be able to tell you if you are truly getting a safe, high quality CBD product. There are many unscrupulous CBD companies out there who cut corners, which affects the quality and safety of the product.
If you buy CBD oil online, you can take all the time you need to research your product. Hemp is a bio-accumulator, meaning it draws all of the toxins out of its environment. Make sure you are buying from a company that sources organic hemp domestically. There aren't tight regulations for hemp grown overseas, and it could be contaminated with harmful toxins.
Third party lab reports should be easily available, and health supplement labeling requirements as standardized by the Department of Health should be met. Choose a USDA certified organic product for instant confidence in the quality and safety of a CBD product.
CBD OIL IN LOUISIANA: CONCLUSIONS
Laws and regulations concerning the sale of hemp CBD oil in Louisiana have been steadily improving.
Instead of navigating the complex Louisiana CBD laws, the safest way to buy CBD products in Louisiana is to purchase it online from a retailer you can trust. Cornbread Hemp is bringing Kentucky hemp traditions back to life by providing the best in Kentucky-grown organic hemp and CBD products. We use hemp flowers-only, and gentle organic ethanol extraction methods, to get the best tasting and most potent CBD products possible.
We are the first hemp and CBD oil company in the region to obtain the exclusive USDA certified organic seal on our CBD oils, ensuring right away that our CBD + THC oils are free from harmful toxins and pesticides. Third party lab reports are readily available for all of our products, providing detailed analysis on each item's safety and potency.