New medical cannabis expansion laws roll-out in Louisiana

New medical cannabis expansion laws roll-out in Louisiana

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

On Saturday, July 25, a new medical cannabis expansion law in Louisiana was enacted. This law will bolster the state’s already-flourishing medical cannabis program, which launched in 2016.

The news of Louisiana’s medical cannabis law passing has emerged two months since the legislature gave the bill a thumbs up. Signed into effect by Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), the legislation would enable registered physicians to recommend medical cannabis for patients who have been diagnosed with a life-impacting condition.

At the initial stages, the amendment to Louisiana’s existing medical cannabis laws would have included concussions and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Introduced by the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Larry Bagley (R), the updated version would include various other medical conditions, in addition to language that states cannabis can be prescribed for any patient who is deemed to be enduring a debilitating ailment. 

“I’m excited. I’m expecting it to be a pretty big day,” Bagley told Marijuana Moment in a phone interview on Thursday. “All the people out here tell me all the wonderful stories about how they were in terrible pain and then they took it and then they’ve gotten away from the pain.”

Sponsor of Louisiana’s medical cannabis expansion bill optimistic about replacing opioids

Bagley, the bill’s sponsor and Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for District 7, is harboring an optimistic outlook. He believes that Louisiana’s medical cannabis expansion bill will starve the opioid epidemic; responsible for 47,600 U.S. deaths in 2017.

The sponsor attests the fact that medical cannabis is not like opioids since it is non-addictive and has never caused a fatal overdose. Bagley went as far as to say that the bill would be a game-changer for the state, where pharmacies could further flourish.

“I think it’s going to be a big moneymaker for the state. At least I hope it is. And I think that everybody’s going to be really happy about it, but time will tell,” Bagley told reporters. He also put forward a House-passed bill that would permit delivery services. However, the bill was voluntarily withdrawn from Senate committee consideration.

More updated medical cannabis laws in Louisiana are being enacted 

Some other new medical cannabis laws in Louisiana that were introduced recently included one to protect financial institutions that serve cannabis companies and ones that focused on establishing firm regulations for non-psychoactive CBD and hemp. Furthermore, lawmakers approved updated medical cannabis laws in Louisiana to provide doctors and healthcare facilities with legal protections if they recommend the plant for patients.

A resolution was also approved by lawmakers in June that would lead to the development of “a task force to study and make recommendations relative to the cannabis industry projected workforce demands.” Based on the details of the measure, “there is a need to study the workforce demands and the skills necessary to supply the cannabis industry with a capable and complete workforce, including physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, and other healthcare practitioners.”