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Logic Skids on Slippery Slope

In Tuesday's Senate Agriculture committee, Senator Gerald Long reacted to a House-approved bill allowing the LSU and Southern University Ag Centers to research the growing of cannabis as industrial hemp.

“I think we’re on slippery slopes here,” suggested Long. 

The bill's author, Representative Jack Montoucet, says this research is permitted under the 2014 federal Farm Bill. “You can smoke all the hemp you want. You will not get a high. The percentage of THC in industrial hemp is point-zero-three. In marijuana, it’s from five to twenty percent,” he explained. 

The Senate Agriculture committee said no. 

Meanwhile in the House Health and Welfare committee, Senator Fred Mills'bill to expand the types of diseases treatable with medical marijuana was being debated. Louisiana Sheriffs Association President, Mike Stone, objected to the bill, asking, “where do we go from here? We’ll be back next year, because next year we want smoke-able marijuana to help these patients."

In other words, this too is a slippery slope.

Mills' bill also involves the two Ag Centers.

“We’re basically asking LSU and Southern Ag schools to determine--can they make this model work, can they start cultivation? And we’re telling them basically by September. This is probably a year and a half, two years away from being commercially available,” Mills explained. 

An hour of testimony was given in objection, including this warning from Pete Adams, Executive Director of Louisiana's District Attorneys Association.

“In the not too distant future," he says, "we’ll be hearing a bill on legalization of marijuana.”

Still, the House committee approved the bill, 8-6.

So it was yes on medical marijuana, no on industrial hemp, even tough State Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain reminded everyone, "medical marijuana is not permissible under federal law, however cannabis for industrial hemp – as a pilot program – is permissible under federal law.”