Cannabis industry’s economic impact could be harmed by legislation


A bill that would stop sales of all products containing THC is one step away from the governor’s desk after it passed the House Administration of Criminal Justice earlier this week.

Concerns grow about the legislation, given the industry’s economic impact on the state.

The current law allows the sale of items with up to eight milligrams, but under Sen. Thomas Pressly’s Senate Bill 237, edible snacks or beverages that contain THC would be prohibited.

The ban would include gummies, candy and drinks infused with THC. Medical marijuana sales would not be impacted.

In 2022, the Louisiana Legislature legalized hemp edibles with limited amounts of delta-9 THC for adults 21 and older. The law called for a maximum of 8 milligrams per serving. It also allowed manufacturers to determine serving sizes and did not limit the number of servings in a single product.

Proponents of Pressly’s bill believe cannabis is too accessible and that natural THC products sold in Louisiana should be regulated in the same fashion as medical marijuana.

“Majority of our customers are moms, people shopping at Rouses,” says Marie La France, cofounder of Louie Louie in New Orleans, which sells THC and CBD-infused beverages. “I think these products have been mischaracterized by the Pressly bill. Our hemp extract is 100% natural and it’s low dose. It would be catastrophic to my business if SB 237 goes through. It will shut us down, resulting in job and revenue loss for the state.”

Consumable hemp products sold in Louisiana last year contributed $992,000 of funding for early childhood education, $1.5 million to state tax revenue, and $1.7 million in local tax revenue.

A recent LendingTree study analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau to calculate that Louisiana saw the third-largest increase in cannabis tax revenue in the country. Louisiana collected $993,000 in marijuana sales revenue in 2023, up 61.2% from 2022.

Nationwide, states collected $2.86 billion in cannabis excise tax revenue in 2023.

Additional legislation, House Bill 952, authored by Rep. Dustin Miller, would regulate consumable hemp products, limiting THC to 8 mg per package. That bill passed the House and will be discussed in the Senate Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development Committee on May 21.

“Unfortunately, I think a lot of safe, highly regulated products are being lumped in with things that are not,” La France says. “I’m really proud of the current regulatory environment that we’ve established here. You go to Texas or Florida, there is no testing, nothing. We have a really great framework here, and it’s generating revenue for the state and jobs.