The state program started in the wake of the 2018 Farm Bill that removed hemp from the list of federally ccontrolled substances. There are currently 160 licensed hemp growers in Louisiana’s highly regulated hemp program. Applicants must take a background check. A felony within the past ten years or a drug-related misdemeanor within the past two years will disqualify an applicant from obtaining a license. Farms are heavily monitored to make sure THC-rich cannabis does not make its way into Louisiana hemp fields.
Louisiana farmers are mainly hoping to cash in on the growing popularity of cannabidiol (CBD) but hemp can be used for many other applications like fuels, clothing, rope, and other household products.
Until 2018, hemp — defined under the Controlled Substances Act as a cannabis plant containing less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC — was rarely cultivated in the United States. The 2018 Farm Bill, however, removed hemp from the CSA, leaving room for a rapidly growing CBD industry with demand rising from coast to coast.
Forbes reports the CBD industry is expected to reach $20 billion by 2024. Experts predict the majority of hemp products will be sold in retail stores rather than dispensaries in the coming years and, as adult-use cannabis laws spread across the country, the hemp/CBD market will continue to grow.