Louisiana House Approves Medical Cannabis Measure

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Louisiana House Approves Medical Cannabis Measure

The bill would make Louisiana the 25th state in the nation — and the first state in the South — to adopt a comprehensive medical cannabis law; Governor John Bel Edwards has indicated he will sign the bill if given the chance

louis2The Louisiana House of Representatives, in a 62 to 31 vote, approved a bill on Wednesday that would make the state the 25th in the nation — and the first in the South — to adopt a comprehensive law allowing for the medical use of cannabis. The measure has already been approved by the Senate, but will return for a concurrence vote before being sent to Governor John Bel Edwards, who has indicated he will sign the bill once given the chance.

“We commend House members for approving this sensible and compassionate legislation,” says David Brown, president of Sensible Marijuana Policy for Louisiana. “We hope the Senate will quickly concur. Many patients have been waiting a long time for this, and some can’t wait much longer.”

Senate Bill 271 and Senate Bill 180 would establish a medical cannabis program in Louisiana by amending a currently law that’s already in place, but is entirely unworkable. Specifically, it would replace language in the current law that allows doctors to “prescribe” medical cannabis, which is illegal under federal law, with language that allows them to “recommend” it. Senate Bill 180 would provide legal protections for patients whose doctors recommend medical cannabis.

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SB 271 would also remove glaucoma from the existing list of qualifying medical conditions, which also includes spastic quadriplegia and symptoms from chemotherapy, and add cachexia (or wasting syndrome), Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, seizure disorders, severe spasms, and spasticity. Under SB 271, medical cannabis would be produced by a single cultivator and distributed to qualifying patients by up to 10 pharmacies.

Last month, Pennsylvania became the 24th state in the nation to adopt an effective medical cannabis law; more than half of the U.S. population now resides in states that allow patients to access medical cannabis if their doctors recommend it.

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