Louisiana Medical Marijuana Facts
For more than 30 years, the hard medical marijuana facts were there was no program in existence — and the “law” that was eventually passed establishing a program was symbolic at best. But changes occurred in 2016 that meant real progress for those suffering from severe illnesses.
The law finally changed to allow doctors to “recommend” the use of medical cannabis rather than requiring them to prescribe the medicine. Doctors could not do that legally, because if they did, they would risk violating their federal license to practice. The legislature also changed statutes to offer patients as well as their caregivers protection from prosecution. Patients gained protection from arrest for possessing and consuming pot, while caregivers were protected from arrest when delivering weed to patients.
Medical Marijuana Facts for Louisiana
- While the law has substantially changed to benefit seriously ill patients, pharmacies, growers and their staff members are still subject to prosecution for cultivating weed and distributing it. Advocates are working for further changes that will help make the entire medical marijuana system more workable.
- Currently, patients are only able to access forms of cannabis that cannot be smoked, such as cannabidiol (CBD) oil.
- State senator Fred Mills told The Associated Press in 2016 it could take as long as two years for medical cannabis to be available for patients. Distributors and a grower sanctioned by the state still need to be chosen. As of February 2017, it was unclear whether Louisiana State University (LSU) or Southern University would be that grower.
- Patients suffering from several conditions should eventually gain access to medical cannabis. These conditions include cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDs, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and others.
- Under the new law, patients will be able to legally possess a 30-day supply of cannabis that cannot be smoked.
- There will be no home cultivation allowed. Southern University or LSU would be deemed the state’s official grower.
Louisiana Marijuana Facts
- According to an LSU survey that was conducted in February 2014, 79% of Louisiana residents support the use of medical marijuana.
- Public Policy Polling conducted a 2013 survey that found 53% of people likely to vote favored legalization of weed, taxing and regulating it in a manner similar to alcohol. The same poll found that 56% were supportive of giving civil violations to people who illegally possess weed rather than arresting them.
- The New Orleans city council passed an ordinance on March 23, 2016 decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana. It allowed police to give violators a ticket rather than arresting them. The fine would range from $40-$100.
- Even though attitudes in the state toward decriminalization of weed seem to be turning, the American Civil Liberties Union reported in 2013 that Black people were three times more likely to be arrested for pot possession than white people.
Learn more medical marijuana facts for Louisiana and the rest of the U.S. by visiting MarijuanaDoctors.com on a regular basis. We’ll keep you informed on all relevant developments as they pertain to this extremely important issue.