By T. Scott Boatright
Louisiana’s House of Representatives voted 73-26 Monday to allow Louisiana patients to smoke marijuana for medically therapeutic purposes.
Medical cannabis is legal in Louisiana but smoking the raw plant is not part of the medical marijuana program. While most states have legalized medical cannabis, Louisiana and Minnesota are the only ones that don’t allow smokable marijuana
Rep. Tanner Magee (R-Houma), who authored House Bill 391 that was moved forward Monday, said that Medical cannabis is legal in Louisiana but smoking raw plant material is not part of the current medical marijuana program.
During debate Magee said that most states have legalized medical cannabis but Louisiana and Minnesota are the only ones that don’t allow smokable marijuana.
He also said that smoking the raw plant material is less expensive and allows patients to take a less concentrated dose compared with using the tinctures currently available, and that state residents who want smokable medical marijuana will instead go to Mississippi or Arkansas rather than using it under Louisiana’s current program regulations.
Louisiana’s medical marijuana program was passed and began in 2016 although the first products were not available to patients until 2019.
If passed overall, House Bill 391 would lift the ban on doctors recommending marijuana in the raw or inhalation form. Authorized pharmacies could then dispense up to up to 2.5 ounces every 14 days to a given patient.
Under House Bill 391, marijuana would remain illegal for nonmedical usage. But other legislation being considered in this year’s session could legalize marijuana for recreational use for all adults 21 and over.