The hemp industry has been making headlines in the past several years, and Louisiana is no exception. The state’s House Bill 605 would help create regulation surrounding one of the most controversial parts of the industry; hemp-derived THC. The bill proposed by Representative Clay Schexnayder would be a turn from the current trend of states banning hemp-derived THC or outright banning hemp altogether.
HB 605 covers more than just hemp-derived THC. It would offer updated regulations to the hemp industry as a whole. While only 14 pages long, this small bill would have a huge impact on Louisiana’s hemp industry.
Examining Louisiana's HB 605
First introduced to the Louisiana House of Representatives on April 3rd, 2023, HB 605 creates more defined and updated regulations for the state’s hemp industry, including hemp-derived THC products. This comes before the release of the 2023 Farm Bill, where proposals have been accumulating for hemp industry regulation.
According to text from Louisiana’s HB 605, Delta THC may not “exceed a total delta-9 THC concentration of more than 0.3 percent or a total THC concentration of more than one percent. The total THC in a product shall not exceed eight milligrams per serving.”
HB 605 would also outline updated regulations to areas in the industry including;
- A ban on synthetically-derived THC
- Packing requirements for hemp products
- Standardization of what is considered a serving size
- Outlines for annual reviews
- Updated regulations for testing various hemp-derived products
The ban on synthetically-derived THC would prohibit the production and sale of any products that contain THC that does not come from the hemp plant. HB 605 defines Synthetic THC as “any tetrahydrocannabinol that is not derived from the naturally occurring constituents of Cannabis sativa L. plant material and is not a naturally occurring constituent of Cannabis sativa L. plant material.”
The 14-page bill would touch nearly every aspect of the Louisiana hemp industry. Not only would it require updates to packaging, but also to what ingredients are allowed to be used to make the products. These proposed changes come during a time when the hemp industry is evolving faster and outpacing existing regulations.
HB 605 Meets Opposition
However, the proposed house bill has been met with mixed reactions. While it passed with very little pushback in the house, others argue that it would hurt the industry. According to the Louisiana Illuminator, Louisiana Department of Health’s Executive Council Stephen Russo “said his agency has identified just over 700 products that could become illegal if Schexnayder’s proposal becomes law.”
Industry opposition is a common event when new rules and regulations are proposed. Industry professionals can influence the impact of proposed legislation by;
- Attending commentary sessions and meetings
- Calling, emailing, and writing to their state officials
- Organizing events bringing attention to the proposed legislation
- Sharing information about the proposed legislation
- Sharing how the proposed legislation would impact your business
In HB 605’s current standing, it has created a large division among industry professionals. Reasons for opposition vary, but two of the main sources of division are the cost of the changes that need to be made to stay in compliance and the labor required to accomplish the task.
Where HB 605 Stands
At the time of this writing, HB 605 was reported with amendments on April 20th, 2023. It is currently pending house floor action. Residents of Louisiana can reach out to their house representatives regarding their opinions on HB 605. To find your state representative, please visit the Louisiana House of Representatives website.
As the hemp industry grows and develops, updated regulations are necessary to protect consumers and industry professionals alike. However, finding regulations that the industry can agree upon is a hill that will have to be overcome.