Updated May 2020
While marijuana has still not yet been decriminalized or legalized in Louisiana, recent medical marijuana legislative developments show that the state government is making efforts to make life easier for patients seeking medicinal cannabis. Below, you’ll discover the answer to “Is marijuana legal in Louisiana?” and learn what is and isn’t allowed under Louisiana legislation.
Recreational Marijuana in Louisiana
Is marijuana legal in Louisiana? When it comes to recreational use, no.
Violating Louisiana marijuana laws will result in a mandatory minimum sentence (the absolutely minimum amount of jail time an individual will face). No matter the circumstances, judges cannot sentence someone to anything below a predetermined mandatory minimum sentence. For example, if you are caught with between 2.5 and 60 pounds of marijuana, the mandatory minimum sentence is two years in jail. That said, there are some efforts to decriminalize possession on the local level.
Penalties for Marijuana in Louisiana
While recreational marijuana remains illegal in Louisiana, in June 2015 Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into law Senate Bill 143 to reduce penalties for possession of marijuana.
According to the law, a first-time offender possessing 14 grams or less of marijuana is punishable by 15 days in prison and $300 in fines. The first time offense of carrying more than 14 grams but less than 2.5 pounds is punishable by six months in jail and a payment of $500 in fine. Possession of more than 2.5 pounds of marijuana is punishable by a minimum mandatory sentence starting from two years and going up to 25 years. Possession of more than 60 pounds also requires offenders to pay heavy fines ranging from $100,000 to $1,000,000.
Sale of any amount of recreational marijuana, whether as a first offense or subsequent offense, is punishable by a minimum mandatory sentence of at least five years. The distribution of marijuana also leads to life prison terms for up to 90 years and heavy fines ranging from $50,000 to $200,000.
Local Decriminalization of Marijuana
Marijuana possession in the city of New Orleans was decriminalized on March 23, 2016 after Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed into law Ordinance 31,148. The law allows law enforcement to issue a ticket rather than arresting for marijuana possession and reduces penalties from jail time to a civil fine of $40 to $100.
There are also a number of additional local decriminalization efforts, with local jurisdictions putting into effect resolutions and laws that work to either partially or fully decriminalize minor possession of marijuana and cannabis. Check with local law and government officials to learn more about local decriminalization efforts.
Is Hash Legal in Louisiana?
Hash is a very concentrated form of cannabis that is made from the resin in a cannabis plant. Hash contains high levels of THC, and is illegal in Louisiana. Hash is classified as a controlled substance and carries all of the same fines and penalties as marijuana possession and use.
Is Cannabis Concentrate Legal in Louisiana?
Cannabis concentrate is a highly potent cannabis plant product in which all of the unneeded parts of the plant are filtered out (removing excess plant materials, as well as other impurities found in the plant). As a result, users get a product that has a greater proportion of helpful cannabinoids when compared to normal cannabis. Marijuana concentrates are illegal, with penalties and fines mirroring the punishments for marijuana possession and use.
Driver’s License Privileges Taken Away as Punishment
Here is one unique aspect of Louisiana’s marijuana laws: If any individual over the age of 18 possesses or uses a controlled substance such as marijuana, the state will take away their driver’s license and ability to legally drive for a minimum of 30 days. Depending on the severity of the violation, the court may take away your driver’s license privileges for up to one year.
Medical Marijuana in Louisiana
The Louisiana State Legislature signed SB 143 into law in June 2015 to lay the framework for medicinal marijuana access, but regulatory hurdles have caused the program’s launch to be delayed. To try to kick-start the program, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill in May 2016 that expands the program to include more conditions and allows doctors to “recommend” rather than “prescribe” marijuana to patients.
Medical marijuana in Louisiana became available to patients starting in August 2019. Agricultural centers at Louisiana State University and Southern University have been selected to grow cannabis for the state, overseen by the state agriculture department. Nine dispensaries have been selected throughout the state.
Medical marijuana will be allowed in the form of medicinal oils, pills, liquids, and topical applications. In June 2019, Louisiana lawmakers passed a bill allowing for the sale and use of cannabis inhalers.
When Can a Doctor Recommend Medical Marijuana in Louisiana?
Despite launch delays, lawmakers have continued to make efforts to improve the program. In June 2018, Gov. Edwards signed into law two measures that expand the state’s medical marijuana program. House Bill 579 added glaucoma, severe muscle spasms, intractable pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and Parkinson’s disease as qualifying conditions. House Bill 672 allows for medical marijuana to be used in the treatment of autism spectrum disorder.
A full list of the conditions that are approved for medical marijuana under Louisiana law is as follows:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Intractable pain
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Parkinson’s eisease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Seizure disorders
- Severe muscle spasms
Tax Stamps Required on Medical Marijuana
Tax stamps are another unique aspect of Louisiana marijuana laws. In short, licensed sellers of medical marijuana are required to place a state-issued stamp on marijuana packaging and containers. These stamps not only require distributors to clearly mark any marijuana products they have on them, but it also helps the state collect taxes on the sale of medical marijuana.
Tax stamps cost $3.50 per gram of marijuana if the owner is in possession of 42.5 grams of marijuana or more. If an individual is caught with cannabis that does not have a tax stamp, they are subject to a fine that is 200% the cost of the original tax stamps, as well as the possibility of up to five years in prison.
Louisiana’s Drug Free Zones
A drug-free zone is a designated area in Louisiana in which no controlled substances can be present, no matter the circumstances. This includes both recreational and medical marijuana, and possession or use can be charged with violating a drug-free zone, even if you have a medical marijuana license. Drug-free zones include elementary and high schools, universities and colleges, religious buildings such as churches or temples, childcare facilities, public housing, and drug treatment facilities.
Not only are you not allowed to have drugs directly in these zones, but you are not allowed to have drugs within 2,000 feet of drug-free zones. If you are caught possessing, distributing, or cultivating marijuana within 2,000 feet of a drug-free zone, any penalties will be punishable by 1.5 times the maximum sentence. That means that if you are caught in possession of 14 grams or less of marijuana, you may be subject to a $450 fine and 22 days in jail, as that is 1.5 times the standard $300 fine and a 15-day jail sentence.
Consumption of CBD from Hemp Oil in Louisiana
Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under federal law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.
Cultivation of Cannabis in Louisiana
The cultivation of cannabis for any purpose is a major offense in Louisiana. Cultivation of any amount of marijuana as a first offense is punishable by a five-year minimum mandatory sentence and 30 years maximum prison time, along with up to $50,000 in fines. Soliciting a minor to cultivate marijuana can lead up to 90 years in jail, with up to $20,000 in fines.
In June 2019, Louisiana lawmakers approved a measure that allows state farmers to get into the hemp-growing business. The measure also authorizes and regulates sales of hemp-derived CBD. Louisiana is one of the first three states to have its hemp program approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The state plans to allow commercial cultivation for the first time in 2020.
Legal Status of Other U.S. States
Stay up to date on the latest state legislation, referendums, and public opinion polls. Our Marijuana Legalization Map allows you to browse the current status of medical and recreational marijuana laws in other U.S. states and territories.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice. Although we endeavor to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Therefore, any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk.
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Is Delta 8 THC Legal in Your State?
If you’ve been studying up on the latest cannabis trends, then it’s very likely that delta 8 THC has entered your awareness. This cannabinoid is growing quickly in popularity as more and more people are finding ways to incorporate it into their routine. But still, there are many people, including diehard CBD lovers, who aren’t […]
If you’ve been studying up on the latest cannabis trends, then it’s very likely that delta 8 THC has entered your awareness.
This cannabinoid is growing quickly in popularity as more and more people are finding ways to incorporate it into their routine. But still, there are many people, including diehard CBD lovers, who aren’t exactly sure what it is, or whether or not it’s even legal.
To learn more about Delta 8, and for exclusive deals on infused flowers and other products, subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter
What is Delta 8 THC?
Before we start getting into delta 8, let’s take a quick look at the more familiar Delta 9 THC, the type of tetrahydrocannabinol that is most commonly associated with cannabis. THC is the cannabinoid with psychoactive properties, and thus, the most controversial of the plant compounds.
Delta 9 THC is derived from THCA – or Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid – which is found in raw plants before heat is applied and it loses its carboxyl acid group, or CO2 molecule, creating the chemical formulation (C21H30O2), and then turning into Delta 9 THC. This process is known as decarboxylation.
From this point, a small percentage of Delta 9 will oxidize to become Delta 8 THC – a delta 9 analogue that is only found in trace amounts in the finished/cured flower. This is because delta 8 is only a slightly altered version of delta 9. More specifically, Delta 8 has a double bond on the 8th carbon atom whereas Delta 9 has it on the 9th one.
Much like other cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabinol (CBN), which appear in small amounts in the cannabis plant, delta-8 THC must be isolated and extracted to produce concentrations than what could be achieved via smoking or vaping. As far as medical benefits of Delta 8 THC, there are quite a few that are of particular interest.
Why is it important?
Numerous studies dating back to the 1970s, most of which come from Israel and were conducted by Professor Raphael Mechoulam and his associates, found Delta 8 to be associated with a number of different health benefits. As with other cannabinoids, it stimulates the endocannabinoid system can be used very diversely.
Delta-8 is already associated with a number of health benefits. The National Center for Biological Information (NCBI) describes delta-8 THC as follows: “An analogue of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties.” It goes on to say: “This agent exhibits a lower psychotropic potency than delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC), the primary form of THC found in cannabis.”
Most notably is this cannabinoid’s ability to fight cancer and treat associated side-effects. This was first observed in a 1974 study that found delta-9 was able to slow tumor growth after a number of days, while delta-8 combined with CBN actually caused tumors to shrink after 20 days. Another study in 1995 on children with leukaemia, showed a high rate of efficacy for treating the cancer, while also controlling nausea and vomiting induced by other therapies.
What remains unknown, on a scientific level anyway, is exactly how the psychoactive effects of Delta 8 THC compare with those of Delta 9. According to another study from the 1970s, they found Delta 8 to have 2/3 the psychoactive effects of Delta 9, which is substantial, but still enough that a user will feel some noticeable effects.
Federal laws regarding Delta 8 THC
There was recently some controversy whether Delta 8 would be added to the DEA’s list of controlled substances, with many in the industry believing it would be prohibited under the Interim Ruling regarding “synthetically-derived” cannabinoids. This turned out not to be the case.
Although a few changes were made, the final result is this: if the end Delta 8 product is derived from hemp and has less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC, then it’s likely legal. The DEA does included Delta 8 THC on its list of controlled substances which was just updated in August 2020. But since the 2018 Farm Bill expressly exempts “tetrahydrocannabinols in hemp”, this means that any form of THC derived from hemp that falls within the already established limits will remain legal.
So yes, Delta 8 THC is federally legal… however, states can override federal laws if they choose to. It happens all the time with industries like alcohol, tobacco, and gambling. So, while Delta 8 may be federally legal, that doesn’t mean it’s legal in all 50 states.
What’s also interesting about this, is that the laws surround Delta 8 are not based on whether recreational cannabis is legal or not. Quite a few states with legal cannabis, including Arizona and Colorado, have banned the manufacture, sale, and possession of Delta 8 THC.
- Alabama: Legal
- Alaska: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Alaska
- Arizona: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Arizona
- Arkansas: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Arkansas
- California: Legal
- Colorado: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Colorado
- Connecticut: Legal
- Delaware: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Delaware
- Florida: Legal
- Georgia: Legal
- Hawaii: Legal
- Idaho: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Idaho
- Illinois: Legal
- Indiana: Legal
- Iowa: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Iowa
- Kansas: Legal
- Kentucky: Legal
- Louisiana: Legal
- Maine: Legal
- Maryland: Legal
- Massachusetts: Legal
- Michigan: Legal
- Minnesota: Legal
- Mississippi: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Mississippi
- Missouri: Legal
- Montana: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Montana
- Nebraska: Legal
- Nevada: Legal
- New Hampshire: Legal
- New Jersey: Legal
- New Mexico: Legal
- New York: Legal
- North Carolina: Legal
- North Dakota: Legal
- Ohio: Legal
- Oklahoma: Legal
- Oregon: Legal
- Pennsylvania: Legal
- Rhode Island: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Rhode Island
- South Carolina: Legal
- South Dakota: Legal
- Tennessee: Legal
- Texas: Legal
- Utah: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Utah
- Vermont: Legal
- Virginia: Legal
- Washington: Legal
- West Virginia: Legal
- Wisconsin: Legal
- Wyoming: Legal
To summarize, Delta 8 is illegal in 11 states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island, and Utah. In all other states, it is legal, but keep in mind that this is subject to change if state legislators determine that it should be classified as a controlled substance. Therefore, before taking delta 8, you should always check with state laws, as laws regarding cannabis are prone to sudden change.
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