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SB 237 Pending / HB 952 Reported Favorably by Senate Committee

SB 237 by Senator Pressly has been rescheduled for a house vote on Tuesday May 28th. SB 237 BANS THC in consumable hemp products.

HB 952 was reported favorably by the Senate Ag Committee yesterday and will be voted on by the Senate next week, as early as Tuesday, more likely Wednesday.

As the Louisiana legislative session winds down, SB 237 and HB 952 are poised for a final vote next week. SB 237 is a BAN bill, prohibiting any amount of THC in a consumable hemp product. HB 952 is a regulation bill, favoring more restrictive regulations on consumable hemp products.

The upcoming showdown seems to be a battle between the Hemp Industry of Louisiana and the two Medical Marijuana companies that control the sale of marijuana in Louisiana. A classic "David vs Goliath Story".

In the recent hearing of SB 237 before the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee, it is believed that medical marijuana lobbyists swayed committee members at the last minute to vote in favor of a BAN (7-5). Good Day Farms and Ilera Holistic Healthcare (the two medical marijuana companies) employ 16 lobbyists to support their legislative agenda. The Hemp Association of Louisiana has 2 lobbyists. Five other lobbying firms are employed by licensed hemp companies in Louisiana, bringing the total to 7. The hemp lobbyists are outnumbered 2:1.

A May 21, 2024 article published by "The Louisiana Illuminator" reported that the legislature has approved SB 228 which will transfer the marijuana growing licenses granted to LSU and Southern University to Good Day Farms and Ilera (the marijuana companies). The bill is awaiting the signature of the Governor. The article quoted former state Rep. Joe Marino who said "It's a Monopoly". It was also reported that the two state universities will no longer receive any funding from the medical marijuana program.

The article further noted that the legislature is "on track to dismantle" the consumable hemp industry. The lobbying efforts of the 16 marijuana lobbyists who influenced the votes in the House Criminal Justice Committee seem to confirm the article's conclusion.

Most of the 3,000+ hemp licensed companies in Louisiana are small businesses, compared to the large medical marijuana companies. Good Day has marijuana licenses in multiple states and the backing of influential political donors. Most mom & pop stores don't have the political experience to combat large companies that advocate for legislation that expands their business at the expense of small entrepreneurs.

As this battle between marijuana and hemp approaches decision making, we can expect lots of political maneuvering. The marijuana lobbyist are going to push for approval of SB 237 and the killing or amendment of HB 952. Outnumbered, the hemp lobbyists will defend themselves against the giants and attempt to pass HB 952 and kill SB 237.

Before the week ends, don't be surprised if one or both bills end up in a conference committee who will try to work out a compromise. That will be difficult since the decision is to either allow small Louisiana hemp businesses to survive or kill the hemp industry and expand the monopoly of the two marijuana companies.

We will keep you posted. In the meantime we continue to urge you to use our free email system to tell your elected officials to support HB 952. Ask your friends & family to do the same! Here is the link:

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Jun 01


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