It’s been a long time coming, and the South has been one of the slowest areas to legalizes in the country, but finally, Louisia is officially launching their own medical cannabis program.
Last week, the Louisiana Senate and House both approved Senate Bill 271, a law to put medical cannabis into place. As long Governor John Bel Edwards signs the bill, which is rumored to be almost a sure thing, Louisianna will be completely clear to start up their medical cannabis program.
The bill was originally introduced by Senator Fred Mills, and is actually based on legislation that was written as long ago and the 1970s. With a few tweaks, such as getting rid of the world “prescribe” in regards to cannabis and updating terminology, the bill is off the ground and receiving a ton of support.
The law will allow patients who suffer from serious medical conditions such as cancer, AIDS, crohn’s disease, and epilepsy, to have access to medical cannabis as long as they have permission from a doctor.
However, while this is exciting news, there are certainly downsides. No smokeable marijuana will be permitted under this bill, and it is also going to be a while before those who need medicine will have access to cannabis. Currently, the state only has 10 dispensaries, and is still trying to figure out who will grow cannabis and how it will be distributed. They are in talks with some local universities, but nothing is set in stone yet in terms of a viable plan. It could be as long as 18 months before anyone is picking up their medicine.
Still, despite this, and the fact that some organizations and individuals have opposed the bill, Governor Edwards has already spoken out in support of it. Although he is not yet ready to consider recreational cannabis, he thinks everyone should have access to the medicine they need.
“I, quite frankly, think the state ought not be between the doctor and parents on what’s best for those children,” he told The New Orleans Advocate.
This is a very exciting step for a more conservative Southern state, and will surely lead to a lot more promising legislation in the area.