Summary of Louisiana's HB 699: Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization
Louisiana’s HB 699 (formerly HB 524), sponsored by Rep. Richard Nelson (R-Mandeville), would legalize and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and older. Rep. Nelson’s companion bill, HB 434, would impose a tax and distribute the revenue. HB 524 was approved by the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee on April 27, and it now heads to the full House floor. Here are some key features of the companion bills:
Personal Cultivation and Possession
If enacted, adults who are 21 or older could possess, grow, and purchase cannabis.
There does not appear to be a possession limit.
Cannabis retailers could sell no more than one ounce of cannabis to an individual each day.
Adults could securely and discreetly grow up to six plants with a permit. They would need to include proof of age, a description of the location, and a security plan. No more than 12 plants would be allowed per housing unit.
Cannabis Business Licensing
The Commissioner of Alcohol and Tobacco Control would license and regulate cultivators, commercial growers, seed producers, contract carriers, processors and retailers.
Retail licenses would be issued to all marijuana pharmacy licensees without needing a permit, no charge.
Applicants must either be Louisiana residents, or — in the case of a business — must have 75% ownership by Louisiana residents.
Regulators will come up with criteria and procedures for licensure, suspension, and revocation of licenses. All qualified applicants will be licensed.
There is no numerical limit on licenses, and there is no limit on how much cannabis a commercial grower can cultivate.
Regulations will include security requirements, lab and packaging requirements, lab testing, health and safety requirements, and labeling and packaging requirements — including child-resistant packaging, warnings, potency, and activation time.
Seed-to-sale tracking is mandatory.
In addition, the bill provides several specific restrictions:
Retailers, growers, and processors could not be located in a "drug free zone."
All staff, and everyone entering a cannabis business, must be at least 21.
Retail sales cannot be conducted on the internet.
Cannabis retailers could not sell any other consumable good, including alcohol, tobacco, non-cannabis food, or drinks.
Advertising would be extremely restricted. No retailer may advertise other than a single website and signs on the business. Cannabis ads are banned on billboard, TV ads, radio ads, and social media.
Local governments can ban cannabis businesses within their jurisdictions.
Prohibited Conduct and Penalties
Possession of cannabis in a public place by individuals under 21 years of age would be punishable by a fine of up to $100.
Taxes andRevenue Distribution
HB 434 imposes a 10% excise tax on retail cannabis sales and a 5% tax on wholesale sales.
Standard state and local sales taxes would also apply. Louisiana’s sales tax is 4.45%.
Under HB 434, the revenue would be distributed as follows:
20% to law enforcement in the municipality where the sale was made
30% to the municipality where the sale was made (unrestricted)
50% to the general fund (unrestricted)
For sales in unincorporated areas, the municipal share would go to the county.