States Roll Out Penalties for Smokable Hemp, Clarify CBD Product Regulations

Louisiana and Iowa recently implemented laws that outline penalties for smokable hemp, while the latter state also expanded opportunities for selling CBD products.

June 27, 2020

Louisiana and Iowa recently implemented laws further regulating the hemp industry, including bans against smokable hemp and CBD products.

In Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the Hemp Consumer and Public Safety law June 17, which makes amendments to the Iowa Hemp Act. 

The new regulations reiterate the state’s ban on smokable hemp by clarifying that products cannot be introduced to the body “by any method of inhalation.” 

Iowa classifies possessing, using, manufacturing, marketing, transporting and distributing hemp meant for inhalation as a “serious misdemeanor,” which is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of between $315 and $1,875.

The new regulations also clarify how hemp products, including those with CBD, can be marketed and sold in the state. The products must be made from hemp produced in Iowa, and if they’re not, they must come from a state or tribe with a plan approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that has testing requirements similar to the state’s.

Previously, CBD regulations in the state were vague, according to retailers. The owner of Your CBD Store in Ankeny, Iowa, for example, was arrested in December for what the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said was the illegal sale of CBD, according to KDSM 17.

In addition to outlining limits on smokable hemp and CBD products, the new laws also:

  • Defines a “consumable hemp product” as a noncombustible hemp product with “a substance that is metabolized or otherwise subject to a biotransformative process” in the body. 

  • Outlines additional sampling and harvesting guidelines, including allowing the department unrestricted access to hemp crop sites.

  • Creates a “temporary harvest and transportation permit” to give before official certificates of analysis are issued. Anyone who wants to possess, harvest or move hemp must have a temporary permit.

Iowa first legalized hemp in May of 2019.

Changes in Louisiana

Meanwhile, the Louisiana governor signed amendments to the state’s existing hemp law June 13. The new law goes into effect August 1.

New amendments to Louisiana’s law outline penalties for producing and selling smokable hemp, as well as food and beverages containing CBD.

“Any part of hemp for inhalation” is prohibited in Louisiana except hemp rolling papers, the new law recently clarified.

Unlike Iowa, Louisiana still bans CBD in alcoholic beverages, as well as in any food or beverage “unless the United States Food and Drug Administration approves CBD as a food additive.” Any CBD product marketed as “dietary” is also prohibited. (Notably, Louisiana’s previous law stated CBD products may not be marketed as “dietary supplements,” but the new revisions struck that from the language.)

According to the new regulations, selling prohibited hemp products can lead to a $300 fine for the first offense, a $1,000 fine for the second offense, and a fine ranging from $500 to $3,000 for any offense after that. 

The new law also gives regulators authority to issue stop orders to businesses out of compliance, essentially halting operations until the company amends its errors. Companies have up to 30 days after issuance of the stop order to comply.

Hemp Bans

Iowa and Louisiana are a growing number of states banning smokable hemp.

The reason is two-fold. For one, law enforcement can’t discern between legal hemp and illegal cannabis, so banning flower could help quell some of those issues.

And, in light of the vape crisis of 2019, some lawmakers are leery of any smokable products containing cannabis. “Shops that sell this stuff that is not inspected can have horrible consequences on Iowans’ lives,” State Sen. Brad Zaun told KDSM 17.

Meanwhile, CBD products remain in legal limbo until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rolls out regulatory guidelines.