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Louisiana bill to legalize growing and processing of industrial hemp waits to be discussed on the House Floor

Industrial Hemp

House bill 491 was passed unanimously in the agricultural committee last week. The new bill would legalize industrial hemp, but would still ban the production, sale and use of CBD. According to the bill, hemp is defined as the Cannabis Sativa L. plant with a 0.3% concentration of THC, the psychoactive component found in cannabis genus plants.

Those who are licensed by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry would be allowed to cultivate, process, manage and transport hemp to other places. However, creating products and selling them within Louisiana remains banned.

The legalization doesn’t address the legality of CBD, currently one of the most popular ingredients in the U.S. markets. Despite of the federal law legalizing the substance in December 2018, states have been withdrawing their support and making stringent restrictions on CBD and its products.

Sen. Fred Mills said that if anyone is possessing CBD oil, they are violating the federal law. The Farm bill which removed hemp derived CBD from its list of Controlled Substance Act along with the opposing states restricting CBD have created massive confusion among sellers and users. Most stores that are selling CBD are currently working in the grey area.

Mills said that CBD is neither legal to sell or possess in Louisiana. It is still considered as a schedule 1 drug with severe penalties. House Bill 491 would legalize industrial hemp and provide policies managed and governed by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Hemp is used in making textiles, fuels, rope, its oils and a bunch of other materials.

A local CBD researcher who refrained from disclosing his identity said that the main difference between cannabis and hemp is that while cannabis has tons of THC in it which makes people high, hemp has relatively low concentration of THC with abundance of CBD making it suitable for patients and all kinds of users.

For decades, federal law has not differentiated between cannabis and hemp, but the Farm bill approved by Congress last year made quite a distinction by removing hemp from the list of federally controlled substance. States can now independently decide on the regulations regarding the production, commerce and research of the plant but legalisation does not legalise CBD generally.

John Downs, the owner of Swamp Vapor said that the Farm Act approved the sale of CBD products, but Louisiana law stated that it has a separation from it and forbids any sale of CBD and its products. Downs used to sell CBD based products in his store until he received a cease and desist letter from the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco.

The letter disclosed that ATC would be issuing citations to any retail store which offers CBD products. Though the House Bill 491 legalizes growing and processing industrial hemp, there wouldn’t be any effect on the sale and use of CBD products in Louisiana. Rep. Clay Schexnayder’s proposal would need a hemp growing and production regulatory plan to be submitted to the USDA by November 1.

Until then the retail stores are banned to sell any CBD or its products. With this, the confusion remains intact and people remain in the dark who are seeking to get CBD oil as an alternative treatment for curing their ailments.

CBD is popularly known to help treat seizures, pain, swelling, inflammation, anxiety and improve sleeping patterns. It is an anti-inflammatory drug which has healing properties. Being a non-psychoactive component, CBD does not alter the state of mind, unlike THC which gives the ‘high’ when people smoke weed.

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THC aka tetrahydro cannabinoid, a chemical found in marijuana plants possess harmful toxins which could affect the mental state of a person. If used for a longer period of time with high potency, THC can lead to memory loss, decreased memory retention and also cause permanent mental disorders in people. The federal law allows CBD with low concentration of THC at around 0.3% where it does not hinder the affects of CBD.

Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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