Beginners Guide to Louisiana Cannabis
The Pelican State has had a long history with medical marijuana, and many may not know that the state of Louisiana first legalized medical marijuana in 1991.
But because of complicated legislative language, doctors were unable to legally “prescribe” marijuana due to federal restrictions for decades.
Now, doctors can recommend medical marijuana to any patient they believe could benefit from cannabis and getting a medical marijuana certification in Louisiana is easier than ever!
In the last few years Louisiana has made big strides in creating a comprehensive medical marijuana program, and with dispensaries open and available to qualifying patients, Louisiana is turning the page in cannabis reform.
Recreational vs. Medical Marijuana in Louisiana
Recreational cannabis possession has traditionally been illegal in Louisiana, however legislators passed a decriminalization measure in 2021 that has changed how the state looks at cannabis possession.
As of August 1st, 2021, possession of 14 grams or less of cannabis is no longer punishable by jail time or arrest, and instead incurs a fee of up to $100, even for repeat offenses.
Carrying over 14 grams, or possession of 14 grams or less that is divided into several portions remains heavily criminalized in Louisiana.
Medical Marijuana in Louisiana was first legalized in 1991, but because of specific language that permitted doctors to “prescribe” cannabis instead of “recommend” it, doctors were unable to comply with both federal and state laws, and as such medical marijuana remained dormant for many years.
Between 1991 and 2018 several pieces of drip-legislation were passed, addressing various functions of the medical marijuana program, such as adjusting which qualifying conditions are available, changing the language from “prescribe” to “recommend”, and removing limitations on the number of patients able to be treated by doctors recommending medical marijuana.
But in 2020, Louisiana passed its three most important bills concerning medical marijuana, with provisions to protect banks, hospitals, and physicians, and expanding the qualifying conditions to include any patient a doctor believes could benefit from medical marijuana.
The Current State of Louisiana Medical Marijuana
With Louisiana expanding its medical marijuana system to become one of the most comprehensive and accessible programs in the nation, the future of Louisiana cannabis is looking extremely bright.
The current state of LA medical marijuana is also very positive, with reportedly around 5 dispensaries open in Louisiana, home cannabis delivery available, and several thousand registered patients already, there appears to be cannabis products available for those who choose to access them.
And in the next few months, smokable cannabis flower will be available in Louisiana, a move that will likely encourage many more people to apply for Louisiana medical marijuana cards.
HB391 will take effect on January 1st, 2022, and patients will be able to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower per 14-day period from licensed dispensaries.
The Future of Louisiana Medical Marijuana
With licensed cultivators now working to produce high quality (and heavily tested) cannabis flower, marijuana products in the state will expand into the more familiar territory of medical marijuana programs that have been successful elsewhere in the Country, such as Colorado and California.
While several states in the south have preferred “limited” or “compromise” medical marijuana programs, restricting amounts of THC to ineffective levels and enforcing prohibitive qualifying conditions, Louisiana has taken the exact opposite approach.
By providing high quality cannabis products to a large pool of people that could potentially benefit from them, Louisiana has moved forward with a comprehensive medical marijuana program that is nearly guaranteed to be a wild success for the Pelican State.
Dispensaries Open in Louisiana
The major hurdle for Louisiana will likely be in the limited number of dispensaries assigned to the different zones of the state.
Only 9 medical marijuana pharmacies are permitted, and they are zoned across the state to provide access to the largest area of coverage.
This may be an issue that lawmakers will need to look at if patients register in similar numbers like Oklahoma, where the number of registered patients is already over 350,000.
But noting the traditional legislative approach that Louisiana has taken with medical marijuana specifically, it’s possible that there may be amendments to the medical marijuana program that might include expanding the number of dispensaries allowed in the state.
Based on the trove of bills passed that encourage the medical marijuana program to flourish, it’s unlikely that the state would allow an overflow of patients without access to medical marijuana, or that shortages of medical marijuana products would be allowed for very long.
There’s no better time than now to become a medical marijuana patient in Louisiana, and our staff of qualified Doctors can be reached at (833) 253-2943 to help answer any questions you may have about getting a Louisiana marijuana card.
Get Your Louisiana Marijuana Card
You can even get your Louisiana Medical Marijuana Card in 3 easy steps!
1. Schedule a telemedicine appointment by calling us at (833) 253-2943.
2. Meet virtually with one of our certified physicians through telemedicine to discuss your medical history.
3. With the doctor's approval, you'll receive your recommendation from the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy.
Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.
At Louisiana Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
Call us at (833) 253-2943, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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