Confusion over CBD laws after raid on Lafayette store

Updated: Apr. 26, 2019 at 11:08 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A police raid on Cajun Cannabis in Lafayette sent a wave of anxiety through Louisiana’s growing CBD industry this week, but it appears the raid was an isolated incident.

CBD (cannabidiol) comes from the hemp plant. It's a form of cannabis that does not get you high. CBD products are marketed for conditions like anxiety, depression, seizures, and joint pain.

President Trump effectively legalized CBD in 2018 when he signed the Farm Bill, but under Louisiana law, products containing CBD are still considered schedule I narcotics.

“Louisiana needs to stop being last in everything that we do. We really need to kind of get up to date with the laws of the land,” said Hunter Poiencot, owner of Aurora CBD & Hemp on Airline Hwy. in Baton Rouge.

Poiencot said business is booming since he opened his doors eight months ago. Aurora’s first location opened in Houma in 2017. He plans to open more stores across the state but said the raid in Lafayette has him taking a small step back.

“I’m not gonna say nervous or anxious is the right thing, but really more, 'Let’s check into this, let’s figure out what happened, let’s figure out if it’s a crackdown on the industry or more or less just a crackdown on a single location,’” he explained.

Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mark Garber said his office got several complaints about illegal activity at Cajun Cannabis. Those complaints have not been made public.

“This is not something where we are going to check every store that sells a CBD product,” Garber said. “We’re not going searching through inventory. We didn’t rush into this and just go and arrest somebody just because somebody complained.”

Garber said items seized from the store tested positive for THC - the psychoactive component in marijuana. Travis DeYoung, the store’s owner, also apparently caught the attention of deputies.

“He was selling schedule I narcotic products outside his store as well, and delivering schedule I narcotics products,” Garber said.

Other law enforcement agencies have shown no signs of targeting businesses that sell CBD products. Louisiana lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would allow farmers to grow hemp in the state.

Poiencot says he’ll wait until the end of the 2019 Session before making his next move. He also said he’d like to sit down with Sheriff Garber before opening a planned location in Youngsville.

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