Louisiana isn’t in the front or back of the pack when it comes to cannabis legalization. They fall somewhere in the middle, and that’s okay. They’re making positive changes across the board, even if they are baby steps, it’s still forward progress.
For instance, medical cannabis is legal for Louisiana residents for certain qualifying conditions. However, the state only authorized nine medical cannabis dispensaries to operate in the state. One for each of Louisiana’s nine regions. This is one example of the law’s limitations.
As for hemp, which is legal across the nation, the state recently issued its first hemp growing licenses under the Louisiana Industrial Hemp Program. Back on December 23, 2019, the USDA approved this program. And on December 27, 2019, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry opened up the application process. It only took a few months before the process was in full swing and operational.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the hemp growing laws in Louisiana. We’ll also cover the ins and outs of CBD hemp flower, whether it’s legal, where it’s available for sale, and how to scope out quality buds.
Who Can Grow Hemp Flower in Louisiana
Before planting any hemp seeds in your backyard, listen to this first. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry (LDAF) is the governing body in charge of regulating the Louisiana industrial hemp program.
Anyone who wants to grow or process hemp, become a seed producer or contract carrier, must apply for a license with the LDAF. All the rules and requirements are outlined on the LDAF website. Each of these roles requires an individual license application. There is no limit to the number of licenses given out, at least for now.
To remain compliant with federal regulations and Lousiana’s regulations, the hemp plants cannot contain more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC on a dry weight basis. The LDAF requires sample testing to ensure THC levels don’t exceed this limit. And the testing fee is the responsibility of the licensee.
Those who have a license can grow hemp in a field, a greenhouse, an indoor growing facility, or a backyard. Whatever space is chosen, it must be approved during the application process and owned or leased by the applicant. Also, there’s no minimum requirement on how many acres a licensed hemp farmer must grow on. This is a nice rule to have because not all people want to grow hemp at the commercial level.
Is CBD Legal in Louisiana?
The 2018 Farm Bill made CBD derived from hemp federally legal in December 2018. Then in June 2019, Louisiana’s Governor, John Bel Edwards signed House Bill 491 making it legal to manufacture and sell CBD within the state of Louisiana.
But, this Bill comes with a set of limitations. These limitations bring us to the next question that needs answering.
Are Hemp Flowers Legal?
First, let’s explain what hemp flowers are. The hemp plant consists of four primary parts — stalks, seeds, leaves, and flowers. After the plants get harvested the flowers are dried and cured. This process turns them into buds ready for smoking, vaping, or to be infused with oil to make CBD oil.
The state of Louisiana prohibits stores from selling hemp flower because of the similar appearance and smell hemp flower has to weed. For instance, if a police officer saw you smoking a joint, he or she wouldn’t know if you were smoking hemp or weed. And the state hasn’t come up with a solution or device that could help an officer know the difference.
Additionally, CBD hemp edibles cannot be sold in stores either. Louisiana state legislatures say that until the FDA approves CBD edibles as food, they don’t want them in any health or convenience stores.
Yet, at the federal level, hemp flower can legally be bought online and shipped through the mail without issue. Smoking it in public, however, probably isn’t the wisest choice.
Is it Legal to Buy Hemp Flower Online?
Yes, in accordance with the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill, you can legally buy hemp flower online. Even though it’s legal, you’ll still want to use discretion before buying any because CBD flower is not regulated yet. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t high-quality choices out there. It just means you have to know what to look for, which is what we’ll teach you now.
How to Identify Premium Hemp Flower?
Since you can’t buy CBD hemp buds at a store in Louisiana, you’ll be shopping for them from your phone or computer. It can be hard not to smell or see the nugs in person, but with the ease of online shopping and with advanced tools and graphics, it’s close to the real thing.
If you already know the names of a few strains you’d like to try, run a search based on those names. This will help narrow down your search results. If you’re not familiar with many CBD strains a few popular ones include Elektra, Lifter, and Sour Space Candy.
Another suggestion for running an online search is to type the phrase, organic hemp flower. Like food, drinks, and supplements, organic is always best and this rule of thumb includes CBD nugs too. Once you click on a company’s website and are skimming through the hemp flower strains, look for information about third-party lab testing.
When a company sends its flower to a lab for testing, the lab will issue a Certificate of Analysis (COA). This report shows all the findings from the various tests that were run. Some companies post these reports on their website, while others will send a copy to you upon request.
How to Read a COA Report
Once you have the COA in front of you, the first lab test shown is usually the Cannabinoid Analysis. This will inform you what percentage of CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids are in the hemp flower. A CBD percentage of 14% or higher is very good. Also, check to make sure the Delta-9 THC percentage is less than 0.3%. This is your proof that the strain is legal to buy online.
Next, see if the COA includes a Terpene Analysis. Terpenes are the molecules in hemp plants, herbs, fruits, and the entire plant kingdom that provide the special aroma and taste. Also, terpenes have their own set of beneficial effects and can enhance the synergy of CBD and the other cannabinoids present in the hemp strain. A terpene percentage of 1% or greater is stellar and can improve the overall experience of smoking hemp buds.
After that, you’ll see the tests for chemicals and impurities. These can include a test that checks for several types of pesticides, heavy metals, residual solvents, mycotoxins, and microbial contaminants. The results of these tests are either pass or fail. You want the results to say “pass” which means there are undetectable traces of each item.
How to Tell the Difference Between Weed and Hemp Buds?
Before you click on the “buy” button, make sure you didn’t accidentally select weed instead of a CBD strain. How can you tell them apart? Well, the first step is to read about the company who’s selling the flower. They should clarify that their products come from the hemp plant and not the marijuana plant.
Also, the percentage of THC should be shown in the product description and in other sections of the companies website as well. And like we mentioned earlier, the COA will also show the THC percentage.
Make sure the percentage of Delta-9 THC is less than 0.3%. At this level, the CBD flower will not express any psychoactive effects. Although weed and hemp buds look very similar, their THC levels are the main characteristic that separates and defines them.
At Organic CBD Nugs, all our premium hemp flower contains less than 0.3% THC. Also, our hemp flower grows on sustainable and organic farms in Oregon, so they’re free of pesticides and contaminants. We offer six different CBD hemp strains and sell them at various quantities, ranging from 1 gram to half of a pound!
Check out our selection and see what other customers are saying about them.