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  • Writer's pictureStaff @ LT&C

Louisiana's Hemp Industry Fights Back Against Proposed Bills with Drastic Changes

The Louisiana hemp industry is facing a challenging time with the advancement of two bills in the state legislature that will greatly impact various aspects of the industry. House Bill 605, which was introduced in March, would slightly alter current law by adding restrictions to serving and packaging sizes, but would keep the THC limit at 8 milligrams per single serving. In contrast, Senate Bill 219, introduced in April, would reduce the THC limit to 2 milligrams or less per single serving and focus on regulatory changes for industrial hemp.

The conflicting bills have divided the state's hemp industry, with some business owners supporting one bill and opposing the other. Markus Bosley, owner of True Releaf, a CBD/hemp store in Monroe, supports HB 605, believing that it will help the industry to continue thriving. In an interview, Bosley said that the bill would "clarify the current rules that are in place right now" and that it had already helped the industry grow to the point where $700,000 of tax revenue was used for early education funding.

However, Bosley and other business owners are worried that SB 219 could have a devastating impact on their stores. Bosley said that the bill would "gut the industry," with an estimated 90% of stores closing due to revenue losses. He argued that the hemp industry has many benefits that people do not understand and that some people's preconceived stances on the issue are harming businesses.

Bosley stated, "We know some people are going to abuse everything, but you got people that abuse Tylenol, and people abuse sugar. Our products have to be sent out for testing to make sure that it meets the regular guidelines and make sure it's safe. Louisiana highly regulates these products."

The hemp industry in Louisiana has been growing steadily over the past few years, with farmers increasingly switching from traditional crops to hemp. In 2019, Louisiana issued 10,000 acres of hemp cultivation licenses, making it the third-largest hemp producer in the United States. The industry has also created jobs and generated revenue for the state.

Both bills face decisions from different sides of the legislature, and the hemp industry is closely watching the outcome. If SB 219 is passed, it could have a significant impact on the industry, potentially leading to closures and job losses. As the debate continues, it remains to be seen what the future holds for Louisiana's hemp industry.


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