Toward the end of last week, the Department of Agriculture and Forestry in Louisiana announced that it had submitted rules and regulations for the Louisiana industrial hemp program to the state registers office.
Before Louisiana Governor, John Bel Edward signed off on HB491 in June 2019, Louisiana was among the few states refusing to legalize hemp cultivation. Since hemp was approved for farming in Louisianna, there has been significant progress among the farmers to ensure that their first legal crop to be cultivated in the state goes without a hitch.
The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said that to complete and file industrial hemp rules and regulations, the department staff worked diligently. He added that the goal of the LDAF is to ensure before the planting season in 2020, everything is in place, and permits are issued.
He further says that he is confident that the LDAF will be able to meet its goal even though there are additional steps that need to be done before Louisiana can proceed with the production of industrial hemp. But, issues beyond the department’s control cause further delays, and one of the contributors could be through USDA since the approval of Louisiana state’s plan for hemp is needed.
The task of adopting, administering, and implementing hemp rules and regulations has been assigned to the LDAF. The department is also responsible for testing the level of THC in hemp crops before harvesting and ensuring that plants do not exceed 0.3%. The growers will have to pay $250 as the cost of testing each sample. Processing and transportation of industrial hemp are to be regulated by LDAF.
When the USDA approves the hemp plan and the state’s rules have been adopted, the LDAF will start accepting license applications for the Industrial Hemp Program. Because there is no limit on the number of licenses issued, nor will there be a minimum number of acres to cultivate hemp,all applicants who meet the requirements will be issued with permits.
Louisiana residents with hemp licenses will be able to grow hemp in their backyard. However, not every farmer will be able to get the permit as it costs $500, and there are other issues to clear with the state before permit issuance.
For the commercial growers of hemp, especially those looking to enter into the cannabidiol (CBD) markets, the cost and the process of acquiring the licensing will be a walk in the park. But, the CBD market is not as profitable as it once was because of the increasing growth of hemp for CBD, causing the price for CBD products to drop in the last few months.
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