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Louisiana Medical Marijuana Guide
Type of program: Medical and Recreational
Way, way back in 1978 — yes, ‘78 — Louisiana introduced the Marijuana Prescription Review Board. The bill was developed with the intention of allowing marijuana access to patients undergoing chemotherapy or suffering from glaucoma. There was a problem. The measure needed the approval of the Department of Health and Human Services in order to provide distribution logistics and product. As a result, the initiative was killed over a technicality. Marijuana is federally illegal. Moreover, physicians aren’t able to “prescribe” any drug that is not FDA approved.
More than a decade later, Louisiana attempted to amend the 1978 initiative to legalize medicinal marijuana. This time, the bill included spastic quadriplegia as a qualifying condition, in addition to chemo and glaucoma. In 1994, after much deliberation the HHS finally allowed doctors to evaluate and prescribe medical marijuana to qualifying patients. But there was another problem. Unfortunately, medical marijuana doctors in Louisiana had no way to procure or distribute the medicine to their patients.
In 2015, with the passage of the Alison Neustrom Act, also known as Act 261, medical marijuana was legalized in Louisiana. The wording of the Act was constrictive. Physicians could only recommend medical marijuana – they couldn’t technically “prescribe” it, as it was still illegal under its Schedule I Controlled Substance categorization. And they still had no way to procure it.
Three decades later, on August 6, 2019, the state of Louisiana finally allowed the sale and use of medical marijuana. Medical cannabis can now be legally sold and purchased by registered patients at one of the nine approved pharmacies in the state. At present, one facility may legally operate within each of the state’s nine health regions.
The legislation guidelines were designed to protect banks and credit unions providing service to the cannabis industry. It also protects the doctors and medical facilities caring for medical marijuana patients.
Louisiana medical marijuana doctors
Medical marijuana dispensaries in Louisiana
Qualifying medical conditions for Louisiana medical marijuana
Under the new guidelines, the program expanded beyond the 14 qualifying conditions. The newly minted regulations effectively allowed physicians to use their discretion in determining what constitutes a qualifying condition.
At present, in the state of Louisiana, there is no definitive list of qualifying conditions for a Louisiana medical marijuana card.
Any resident of Louisiana over the age of 21 may apply to be a medical marijuana caregiver. The applicant must prove residency with a state ID card or driver’s license, in addition to submitting a photo for card registration. The cost is $75.
How to get a medical marijuana card in Louisiana
Marijuana dispensaries in Louisiana
Medical cannabis can now be legally sold and purchased by registered patients at one of the nine approved pharmacies in the state. The dispensaries in Louisiana are some of the most regulated facilities in the U.S. At present, one facility may legally operate within each of the state’s nine health regions.
Louisiana medical marijuana dispensaries
Marijuana products available in Louisiana
Medical marijuana products available in Louisiana include:
- Transdermal patches
All products are limited to 10 milligrams of THC per dose.
The sale of smokable marijuana and cannabis-infused vape oils is not permitted.
Louisiana medical marijuana purchase and possession limits
Approved Louisiana medical marijuana patients are allowed to purchase up to a 30-day supply.
Home cultivation in Louisiana
Louisiana medical marijuana patients are not permitted to cultivate their own cannabis. Doing so can result in serious drug trafficking charges.
Marijuana-related DUI laws in Louisiana
In the state of Louisiana, as in all the other states, it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. Doing so may result in the same harsh penalties applied to alcohol-related infractions. All drivers in Louisiana may be subjected to a chemical test of their breath, blood, or urine to determine the presence of controlled substances, even if the individual is a registered, legal medical marijuana patient.
Louisiana hemp and CBD laws
CBD oil is legal in Louisiana. Residents can buy CBD oil online without a Louisiana medical marijuana card.
CBD-infused edibles are not permitted as CBD has not been fully by the FDA as a food additive.
Smoking hemp flower is technically illegal in the state. Hemp-derived CBD flower with less than 0.3 percent THC content may be purchased in Louisiana, as long as it is grown out-of-state.
Louisiana medical marijuana and guns
Technically, gun purchase and ownership are illegal across the nation if an individual uses any federally illegal substance including medical marijuana.
Learn more about marijuana and guns
Pending Changes to Louisiana marijuana laws
A majority of Louisiana residents have expressed full support for the legalization of recreational cannabis. In 2020, there was an official request to study the implications of legalizing recreational marijuana in Louisiana, but it was denied before further exploration was undertaken.
Louisiana Medical Marijuana laws:
Two companion bills were signed and passed in 2016. Act 96 and Act 343 effectively altered and corrected the language expanding the qualifying conditions and establishing legal protection for medical marijuana patients.
Act 286 was enacted in 2020 to allow recommending doctors the ability to prescribe marijuana at their discretion, for a patient with any debilitating condition.
In 2020, HB 211 went into effect, to protect businesses and banks servicing the cannabis industry from being penalized.
Act 147 protects physicians and medical facilities that are prescribing and administering medical cannabis.