You can’t miss the Simply CBD: Cannabis Dispensary on Magazine Street. Decorated with massive, colorful hemp leaves, the shop’s exterior has become a popular photo op for cannabis enthusiasts. The inside of the shop is just as magical for hemp lovers.
Helpful employees guide customers through the intricacies of various hemp products, many of which contain the cannabis-derived compounds cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC is a psychoactive compound that causes the intoxicating effects of cannabis. “Many customers come into our shop looking for marijuana,” says general manager Collin Avrard. “Recreational marijuana is still illegal in Louisiana, so these customers used to leave disappointed. But now we can offer a potent, satisfying and totally legal alternative: THC derived from hemp rather than from marijuana.”
The Uptown Simply CBD, located at 4507 Magazine Street near Napoleon Avenue, was one of the first retail businesses in New Orleans to offer CBD products. As demand for CBD grew and Louisiana laws opened the door for new cannabinoids, two more locations were added including a flagship store in Mid-City and a location at 2268 St. Claude Avenue in Faubourg Marigny.
Today, Simply CBD offers much more than simply CBD. The Louisiana cannabis dispensary carries a wide range of popular cannabinoids, including THC products that are federally legal as well as registered with the Louisiana Department of Health.
Molecularly, Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC are almost identical, with very similar effects including relaxation, mild euphoria and pain relief. But Delta-8 THC is slightly less potent, with milder psychoactive effects.
Louisiana hemp laws
Hemp was federally legalized in 2018 by the Farm Bill. To align state laws with federal laws, in 2019 Louisiana passed House Bill 491, which legalized industrial hemp. For cannabis to be considered hemp, its Delta-9 THC content must not exceed 0.3% by dry weight.
It also legalized derivatives, cannabinoids, extracts, isomers, acids, salts and other components of industrial hemp. In 2021, Louisiana passed House Bill 640, which further extended the earlier law by enabling the sale of regulated THC products throughout the state.
HB 640 prohibits selling products that can be smoked, and recreational marijuana remains illegal in Louisiana. It does allow “consumable hemp: which it defines as “any product derived from industrial hemp that contains any cannabinoid, and is intended for consumption or topical use.” So most THC products on the market are edibles and tinctures.
In Louisiana, you can get a prescription for medical marijuana if you have certain qualifying medical conditions. But high product costs and limited supply make this difficult. There are currently only nine licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in the entire state.
Even without access to recreational marijuana, you can find legal THC products in New Orleans. Advances in cannabis extraction have made federally legal hemp-derived THC products possible.
Although HB 640 went into effect in August 2021, it has taken a while for the newly legal products to be registered and reach shelves. “People are just now hearing about this,” Avrard says. “You can tell how excited people are to learn about legal THC.”
Louisiana regulates THC products
Within the last year, Delta-8 THC became a phenomenon. Many states banned it, but Louisiana decided to regulate it.
The state established guidelines and safety standards for all cannabinoid products, including those containing Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC. The state mandates full-panel testing, detailed product labeling and age restrictions, among other requirements.
State regulators and industry professionals expect this approach to increase safety and make clear which cannabinoid products can be legally sold in the state.
Avrard explains that because of the state law, “we don’t sell cannabis products for smoking, so gummies and other edible products have become insanely popular.”
“We carry THC gummies ranging from 5 milligrams to 25 milligrams of THC per gummy,” adds manager Jeffrey Wells. “We also offer products with different ratios of THC to CBD so that customers can find the right balance for achieving the effects they want.”
For example, if you’re looking for a relaxed but uplifting cannabis experience, Canna Moons from New Orleans-based Crescent Canna contain 12 milligrams of THC and 5 milligrams of CBD, for what Avrard calls “cruising altitude. It doesn’t make you sleepy.”
Crescent Canna has become a local favorite for its high-potency CBD products and legal Delta-9 THC gummies and Delta-8 THC gummies that are third-party lab-tested and registered with the Louisiana Department of Health.
In late 2021, Crescent Canna, became the first New Orleans company to officially register THC products with Louisiana.
Legal THC products in New Orleans
The strongest and most cost-effective THC gummies available at Simply CBD are its own house brand of edibles. The pink lemonade and strawberry flavors contain a whopping 25 milligrams of Delta-9 THC per gummy.
“These gummies are quite strong and produce a relaxing euphoria,” Avrard says. “If you’re new to edibles, we recommend starting with half a gummy.”
Simply CBD is dedicated to supporting the local community and helping New Orleanians learn more about legal THC, CBD, and other cannabis products. According to Avrard: “At Simply CBD, we believe in the wellness power of cannabis, and we hear amazing stories from our customers every day.”
Simply CBD – Uptown
4507 Magazine St., Suite A
Open daily, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Simply CBD – Mid-City
231 N. Carrollton Ave., Suite A2
Open daily, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Simply CBD – Marigny
2268 St. Claude Ave., Suite B
Open daily, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.