Louisiana’s Medical Marijuana Program Expanded

Medicinal cannabis in Louisiana
Image: cateyz

They say all good things take time and in the case of Louisiana’s medical cannabis program, it certainly has – but things appear to now be really moving along.

It’s been reported Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed an expansion proposal into law on the weekend that will allow more residents to access medical cannabis. Early last month, the state’s senate  voted 25-9  in favour of Rep. Ted James’ proposal.

Added to the list of qualifying conditions are:

  • Glaucoma
  • Severe muscle spasms
  • Intractable pain
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Parkinson’s disease

The other conditions are:

  • Cancer
  • HIV/ AIDS
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Cachexia
  • Epilepsy

Medical marijuana is expected to be available in the state within the next few months. At this point in time less than a dozen doctors are authorised to prescribe medicines and there will be only one dispensary in each of the state’s nine regions.

Louisiana State University and Southern University are the only two legal growers of plants from which medicines will be extracted. LSU has entered into a deal with a Las Vegas company to grow marijuana for medical purposes in the state, but the plants won’t be grown at campus facilities.

Medicinal marijuana forms permitted under state laws are oils, extracts, tinctures, sprays, capsules, pills, solutions, suspension, certain edibles, lotions, patches and suppositories. Raw and inhaled products (e.g. vaping and smoking) are not permitted.

The program has taken a long while to get into gear. The Louisiana Legislature passed the Alison Neustrom Act, which the program is based on, back in 2015. Actually, the state first legalized medical marijuana way back in 1978 for people suffering from glaucoma and cancer.

In other recent related news, last week Southern University and A&M College approved a contract with Louisiana’s Advanced Biomedics to partner on the cultivation and production of medical marijuana at Southern’s research facilities.

Southern University says its products will be available in dispensaries throughout the state in early 2019.

“We are extremely excited to be able to provide good quality medicine for the citizens of Louisiana,” said Dr. Bobby R. Phills.

Another reason for its excitement – the Southern University Ag Center will receive more than $6 million over 5 years under the deal.