Louisiana Committee Votes to Add Autism Spectrum Disorder to State’s Medical Marijuana Program

A Louisiana House committee has voted in favor of a bill to add autism spectrum disorder to the state’s list of qualifying medical marijuana conditions.

The House Health and Welfare Committee voted 9 to 4 last week to pass House Bill 627, sending it towards a vote by the full House of Representatives. The bill would expand the state’s medical marijuana program, approved in 2017, by adding autism spectrum disorders to the list of qualifying conditions.

John Vanchierre, M.D., who heads up the Louisiana chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, argued  in opposition to the measure, saying that there isn’t enough studies proving that marijuana can help those with autism.

“Allowing medical marijuana to be used, without FDA standards, is not appropriate”, said Vanchierre. “This is a safety issue”.

Representative Larry Bagley responded by saying that “I’ve always voted along the lines going with doctors who say it won’t work. I’m getting a little weary of waiting for these studies.”

Cardiologist Dr James Smith spoke in support of the bill; “Cannabis is a safe medicine. 900 people died last year from acetominophine. None from cannabis”.

 House Bill 627 now moves towards a full House vote. If passed by the House, it will be sent to the Senate, where approval will send it to Governor John Bel Edwards for final consideration.

 

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