Louisiana House of Representatives Advances Medical Cannabis Expansion Bills

Two medical marijuana bills are moving forward in Louisiana.
Louisiana House Of Representatives Advances Medical Cannabis Expansion Bills

Louisiana’s medical marijuana program is closer to undergoing a significant expansion after lawmakers there last week advanced a pair of bills. 

Each measure, both of which were sponsored by state Rep. Larry Bagley, a Republican, passed the Louisiana House of Representatives on Friday, as reported by the Livingston Parish News. 

One proposal, HB819, which aims to broaden the potential pool of eligible medical cannabis patients by permitting a physician to prescribe such a treatment to someone suffering from what the doctor “considers debilitating,” passed by a 76-15 vote, according to the Livingston Parish News. HB819 will also reportedly add nine conditions under which a doctor in Louisiana can prescribe medical marijuana to a patient. 

The newspaper said that Bagley’s other bill, HB972, which would allow for pharmacies and dispensaries to deliver medical marijuana to patients—a measure that has been implemented during the coronavirus pandemic in other states and cities where adult use and medical marijuana are legal—passed by an even wider margin, 80-15. 

Each bill now heads to the state Senate for consideration. 

Medical Pot In The Pelican State

Louisiana’s medical marijuana program finally opened for business last year, with dispensaries opening after years of delays. 

The framework for the state’s program was first established in 2015, when then-Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal signed a bill legalizing medical cannabis into law. But the law was beset by regulatory disagreements, leaving patients without access to cannabis. The law allows the treatment for patients with a wide range of diseases and conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

In August, Louisiana agriculture and forestry commissioner Mike Strain announced that the agency had completed the final round of testing on cannabis that was produced by Louisiana State University and a contractor, GB Sciences, paving the way for the first crop of medical marijuana to hit shelves at dispensaries.

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