Over the past few years, Louisiana has continued to advance its medical marijuana capabilities. Keep reading for an update on the current program and any legislative changes that may be on the horizon.
Smoking Marijuana Now Available
As Louisiana’s medical marijuana program gradually introduced different types of products and eligible conditions since the program’s inception, it achieved a major milestone this year by giving patients the ability to use smoking marijuana to treat these conditions.
Market expansion vs market protection
Adding smoking marijuana has increased patient demand and increased income for program participants. Based on this increase in market demand, the current legislative session has seen a corresponding increase in medical marijuana legislation. Most of the bills focus on how best to expand the medical marijuana program beyond its current participants on the grow and pharmacy side of the supply chain. Currently, there are two licensed producers in Louisiana (LSU and Southern University), and there are only nine licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. Such invoice will increase the number of medical marijuana pharmacy licenses to 20 while another invoice seeks to allow new participants on the growth side other than Southern and LSU.
The most complete invoice so far filed by Representative Tanner Mageetransfers regulatory oversight of culture-side licenses to the Louisiana Department of Health, expands pharmacy licenses as needed, and improves testing processes, which have been a roadblock for the culture-side of the supply chain.
Changes to current bills could address delivery, research, restructuring of designated dispensary regions and expansion of parishes.
Interested stakeholders should continue to follow the current legislative session. Policy considerations center on protecting equitable program participation for current and future stakeholders while trying to expand patient access.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.