Things are looking tense for CBD retailers as new rules have been set by the local government regarding the marketing of hemp-derived products.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed House Bill 491 last June that legalized cannabidiol or CBD products for sale, provided that they contain no more than 0.3% of THC, which is the compound responsible for pot high. This law is an answer to the federal mandate stated in the Farm Bill of 2018 that permitted hemp cultivation in the country.
However, the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control and Louisiana Board of Pharmacy have issued a warning and notice in early 2019 that licensees may face repercussions if they start selling CBD products in the state, further reiterating that such items were illegal in Louisiana.
A few months ago, the CBD market has flourished because there were little to no clear regulation and oversight. Now, startups like Tara Elwell’s first CBD store in Broussard that is set to open in a few weeks are worried about the effect that these agencies’ statements have on their sales. These will most likely limit the variety and access to various hemp-derived products in the state.
Cannabidiol or CBD as it is more popularly known is an extract from Cannabis sativa, the same source plant for marijuana. However, it does not produce psychoactive effects because its THC level is only a trace amount.
More About the Notices
The warnings stirred confusion as to whether cannabis companies would still be able to sell such products in any case. This urged lawmakers to seek a bill that will legalize CBD sales in Louisiana.
This new turn of events requires retailers to follow stricter rules if they are to continue selling CBD-infused products. The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control will have to certify them first. They also won’t be permitted to CBD products that come in inhalation or edible CBD forms. A CBD product is in no way allowed to be labeled as a dietary supplement.
Companies need to abide by these rules and should apply for a temporary permit given by the ATC by August 1. However, last week the agency moved the deadline to September 1 after no less than 500 businesses across the state filed for a permit, Juana Marine-Lombard, ATC commissioner stated. She further declared that this number could double, hence pushing back the deadline.
Filing for Legitimacy
Elwell is one of the many company owners to apply for certification last July 22 for Green Time Wellness, her startup. She firmly believes that the CBD industry will surpass the changes and that regulations are not bad at all.
Formerly practicing law, Elwell is now using her studies to establish a business. She has been a CBD advocate for years, using products to manage sleep, pain, and stress. What made her shift careers was the unfortunate cancer diagnosis of her father last year, which made her realize that she should do what makes other people happy and healthy.
CBD is popular for easing symptoms of various conditions like anxiety and muscle pain, causing the industry to rise. FDA confirmed last year that cannabis can help manage seizures for childhood epilepsy, which is how Epidiolex, a cannabis-derived medicine was approved.
Small Businesses’ Concerns
CBD company owners in Louisiana are worried that the new rules could push customers to buy inhalable and edible CBD-infused items from online shops instead of in their stores. Business owner Buddy Pop opened two stores in 2018 but has noticed a significant sales drop following the new rules.
Pop further stated that as much as the CBD and hemp industry is a growing market, Louisiana is behind and might continue to be hindered because of the new regulations.