With multiple different agencies regulating separate aspects of industrial hemp in Louisiana, it can be difficult to navigate the industrial hemp industry. Because the difference between hemp and marijuana is based solely on the percentage of THC in the plant, the industrial hemp industry is tightly regulated. There are three regulatory agencies that are responsible for guiding the industrial hemp industry from seed to sale: the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF), the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), and the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC).
Most recently, the 2022 Louisiana legislative session passed two new Acts regarding industrial hemp in Louisiana: ACT No. 462 authored by Representative Travis Johnson and ACT No. 498 authored by Representative Clay Schnexnayder. ACT No. 462 provides direction relative to the formation of the Louisiana Industrial Hemp Promotion and Research Program and Advisory Board which aims to "support the growth and development of the industrial hemp industry in Louisiana by enhancing research, education, promotion, facilities, and industrial hemp related activities" in Louisiana. ACT No. 498 amends current laws regarding industrial hemp in Louisiana, specifically changing some rules regarding the regulation of industrial hemp, industrial hemp testing, and some changes regarding consumable hemp products.
The LSU AgCenter, SU AgCenter and ULM College of Pharmacy have partnered with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, the Louisiana Department of Health, Louisiana Economic Development, Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, and the Louisiana Department of Revenue to develop this centralized website in the aim of helping both new and experienced members of the industrial hemp industry. Please visit the other pages of the centralized hemp website to learn more about industrial hemp in Louisiana. While it aims to help navigate the industrial hemp industry in Louisiana, the laws and rules often change and may become out of date. This highlights the need for people in the industrial hemp business to stay current on the changing laws and regulations and to understand that the sole responsibility of legally growing, producing, and selling hemp products falls upon the individual. Failure to comply could lead to the destruction of crops or products.
The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) oversees many aspects of industrial hemp in Louisiana. A seed producer license is required for anyone wanting to produce, transport and sell industrial hemp seed or immature plants from clones. A grower’s license can also be obtained from LDAF for licensees to be able to cultivate, harvest, handle, transport and sell industrial hemp. Growers will be working closely with LDAF, submitting multiple planting reports and scheduling tests to ensure the safety, quality, and legality of their crop. For more information, please visit the LDAF website and the Rules and Regulations page for Growers and Seed Producers. A separate handler license is also available for someone looking to transport, deliver, commercially harvest, clean, package, broker, or test hemp.
After the cultivation of hemp, hemp can be processed into other products. These products fall into one of two categories: Non-Consumable Hemp or Consumable Hemp Products. Non-Consumable Hemp Products are anything derived from industrial hemp that does not contain any cannabinoids and are not intended for consumption or topical application. Consumable Hemp Products are intended for human consumption or topical application and can contain CBD and other phytocannabinoids. Consumable hemp products are further divided into two separate categories: adult-use consumable hemp products are any product containing more than 0.5 mg of total THC per package (as well as remaining under 8 mg per serving), while consumable hemp products contain less than 0.5 mg of total THC per package. Both adult-use consumable hemp products must maintain a delta-9-THC concentration of less than 0.3%.
LDAF is responsible for issuing the Non-Consumable Hemp Processors license to people looking to produce non-consumable products for sale. Visit the LDAF website and the Non-Consumable Hemp Processors Rules and Regulations page for more information.
Consumable hemp processing is regulated by the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) and that entity issues permits that allow for processing, handling, storage, and sale of consumable hemp products at wholesale (to other processors or distributors or retail dealers). Consumable hemp products must also be lab tested to ensure safety and legality by an ISO 17025-accredited laboratory. Testing includes five categories of contaminants, residues, or properties of the products tested: cannabinoid profile, presticides, solvents, microbials, and heavy metals.
LDH does not issue permits to retail dealers of consumable hemp products or out-of-state manufacturers or distributors.
Additionally, LDH is responsible for label registration and approval which is a requirement before the sale of all consumable hemp products. The labels must contain a variety of information to be approved. For more information on permitting, registration, or Consumable Hemp Processor rules, visit the LDH website which contains applications and portals for label submission.
Once a product has been processed, the final step is selling the tested and labeled product to the consumer which requires a permit issued by the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC). The ATC issues multiple types of permits. A Consumable Hemp Retail Dealer permit allows for sale at a physical storefront. A Consumable Hemp Remote Seller Permit allows for the sale and shipping of consumable hemp products via the internet. A Consumable Hemp Wholesaler permit allows for the sale and distribution of consumable hemp products to licensed hemp retailers. There is also a Special Event permit that allows the licensee to sell at special events. Visit the ATC website and the Retail Rules and Regulations page for more information.Hemp retailers are subject to a 3% excise tax. Please visit the Louisiana Department of Revenue website for more information.
Industrial hemp is a plant from the Cannabaceae family, with the scientific name of Cannabis sativa L. It is botanically the same plant as marijuana but has a federally defined legal limit of 0.3% delta-9tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by dry weight. THC is the psychoactive chemical, and the limit reduces the likelihood of industrial hemp being consumed recreationally. Industrial hemp is used to produce a wide range of commercial products, which includes but is not limited to fabric, fiber, food, plastics, and fuels.
ACT No. 498 provides a new classification of hemp products that the Louisiana hemp industry should be aware of: adult-use consumable hemp products. Adult-use consumable hemp products are any product containing more than 0.5 mg of total THC per package, while consumable hemp products contain less than 0.5 mg of total THC per package. The total THC (including delta variants) amount must remain under 8 mg per serving for adult-use consumable hemp products, while maintaining the delta-9-THC concentration limit of 0.3% by dry weight.
Consumable hemp products are defined as any product that is intended for consumption or topical use that contains any cannabinoid and contain less than 0.5 mg of total THC. Consumable hemp products are required to have less than 0.3 percent delta-9-THC or a total THC concentration of less than 1%.
As of the 2018 Farm Bill, it is federally legal to work with hemp in Louisiana, as long as you have the appropriate license. There are six different licenses that can be obtained in Louisiana. Depending on what you plan to do with hemp, you will need to apply and be approved for a specific license. The different licenses are for grower, seed producer, consumable hemp processor, non-consumable hemp processor, handler, and retailers. For more information, please visit the Licenses page.
The only approved pesticides for industrial hemp are 25b minimum risk products (and one conventional pesticide). There are 59 total approved pesticides, which can be found listed on the EPA website.
Any product derived from industrial hemp that does not contain any cannabinoid, including cannabidiol, and is not intended for consumption or topical use.
The first step is to visit the LDAF industrial hemp website and review the Industrial Hemp Law and regulations. You should check with local ordinances to ensure you will not be prohibited from participating in the program. Refer to the universities and other sources for information on hemp best management practices.
Medical marijuana is not industrial hemp. They differ based on the amount of THC produced by the plant with industrial hemp having a total THC by dry weight of less than 0.3%. Anything above that is not considered industrial hemp and is illegal to grow except as allowed under Louisiana's Medical Marijuana Program.
The medical marijuana program is administered by the Louisiana Department of Health. For information on the medical marijuana program visit the LDH Medical Marijuana website or call 225-342-7533.
The LDAF is granted authority to license and regulate the production, handling, and processing of non-consumable industrial hemp in Louisiana through LA R.S. 3:1461 et. seq.
Applicants for each license issued by LDAF must undergo both state and federal criminal history background checks. No person shall be eligible to obtain a license if the person was convicted of a felony within 10 years, or a drug-related misdemeanor within two years of the date of application.
All Industrial Hemp Consultants must comply with the LDAF Pesticide & Environmental Programs regulations including approval by the Advisory Commission on Pesticides and successful completion of exams.
Overview of the legal requirements for hemp cultivation, production and processing.Go
How to apply for the different types of licenses required to work with hemp in Louisiana.Go
Learn about the required testing to ensure that the hemp is safe and compliant.Go
Information and education about hemp grown in Louisiana.Go