LA Marijuana Qualifications [2020 Update]

Updated on March 17, 2021.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

What Conditions Qualify for Louisiana Cannabis Medicine?

In May 2020, Louisiana passed a bill that allowed healthcare providers to recommend medical marijuana for “any condition” they believe should qualify.

Prior to that, SB 143, Louisiana’s original medical marijuana bill, authorized treatment for the following conditions:

Certain conditions associated with autism spectrum disorder also qualify to be treated with medical marijuana. They include the following:

  • Repetitive or self-stimulatory behavior of such severity that the physical health of the person with autism is jeopardized
  • Avoidance of others or inability to communicate of such severity that the physical health of the person with autism is jeopardized
  • Self-injuring behavior
  • Physically aggressive or destructive behavior

How to Become a Medical Marijuana Patient in Louisiana

To become a patient in Louisiana, you must follow these steps and meet certain requirements, as well:

  1. Louisiana does not have medicinal cannabis reciprocity. In other words, marijuana-certified doctors in Louisiana can only provide recommendations to state residents. Make sure you have your state ID with you when you get an evaluation or visit a dispensary.
  2. Patients should also transfer any relevant medical records to the recommending doctor. Documentation supporting the patient’s diagnosis will help the physician determine your qualification. Learn how to request your medical records for a medicinal cannabis evaluation.
    • If you seek a recommendation for your child’s autism spectrum disorder-related condition, you must visit a pediatric sub-specialist before seeing a cannabis-certified doctor.
  3. The state does not require patients to join a state registry or get a medical marijuana card. However, they must obtain a recommendation from a doctor authorized to do so by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners and diagnosed with a Qualifying Condition. This recommendation serves as proof of the patient’s eligibility. Before dispensing medicine, dispensary staff must verify each recommendation in the Prescription Monitoring Program database. Find an authorized doctor near you.
  4. Visit the dispensary serving your region to fill your recommendation. As a federally illegal drug, medical marijuana does not get covered by any health insurance plan. Bring enough money to pay the full price of your medicine. Search for a dispensary in Louisiana.

Who Qualifies for Medical Marijuana in Louisiana?

Louisiana passed SB 143 in 2015, which paved the way for medical marijuana legalization in the state. After a few amendments and distribution of licenses, patients will finally have access to cannabis medicine in the last third of 2018.

Together with the Louisiana State Legislature, select departments of the State developed licensing and regulations for the state’s medicinal cannabis industry. Patients with certain debilitating conditions may request a recommendation from a licensed doctor.

The state’s two main suppliers of marijuana medicine will have their first available products in late summer 2018 and the beginning of 2019. If you plan to become eligible before these dates, you may have to wait for dispensaries to receive their first stock.

Access to Medical Cannabis in Louisiana

The language used by some patients and official sources reference “prescriptions” and “pharmacies” when describing medical marijuana. However, doctors can’t prescribe illegal drugs under federal law. As a Schedule I substance, marijuana cannot go on a pharmacy’s shelves or a doctor’s prescription.

In compliance with U.S. law, doctors recommend cannabis medicine instead of prescribing it. Dispensaries, not pharmacies, sell medicinal marijuana. If you see the terms “marijuana prescription” or “marijuana pharmacy,” verify the source of information and the mentioned establishment.

As of August 2018, the Louisiana State Legislature has yet to define the “30-day supply” that serves as a patient’s possession limit. They may clarify this definition before cannabis medicine becomes available. However, please consult your doctor and dispensary before possessing a significant amount of medicine.

The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy rules that they will issue up to 10 dispensary licenses throughout the state. To ensure all parts of Louisiana have access to cannabis medicine, they outlined nine regions that will each receive one permit. Once they have data on patient recommendations and sales, the Board may grant a 10th license based on need.

Even with a recommendation, Louisiana patients cannot cultivate their own marijuana plants. The Department of Agriculture and Forestry issued two growing licenses throughout the whole state. These permits went to Louisiana State University and Southern University, who both partner with outside companies to grow and produce medicine. You will find this medicine at the nine authorized dispensaries.

Unless the Louisiana State Legislature changes the law before cannabis medicine becomes accessible, a doctor can only serve 100 medical marijuana patients at once. Verify if the doctor can take more patients before trying to make an appointment.

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