- Hammond Lewis
Governor Edwards Scoffs at Increasing Pharmacies, Favors Satellites for Current Businesses
There have been more than a handful of bills set to change Louisiana’s medical marijuana program introduced this legislative session.
Tackling problems like the supply of cannabis, the number of cultivators, and even looking to introduce new ways that patients can qualify for medical marijuana cards in Louisiana, the table is set for big changes to the cannabis program.
One failed bill, whose aim was to increase the number of pharmacies permitted to sell cannabis products, caught the attention of Governor Edwards, who cited a handful of reasons why Louisiana should look to make its current businesses profitable rather than increase supply for patients.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about HB768 and why Louisiana lawmakers want to keep the profit margins tight with medical marijuana.
Why Did HB768 Fail to Pass?
Too Many Bills on the Table for Legislative Session
House Bill 768 is one of many bills that have been laid out that would add additional pharmacies approved to sell cannabis in Louisiana.
The Louisiana medical cannabis program started out with very small operations that were expected to handle a large volume of transactions, just two cultivators and 9 pharmacies were approved to handle cannabis.
With a population of 4.6 million, only around 4,000 patients have accessed medical cannabis in Louisiana, likely due to the limited number of pharmacies and products that were available before Louisiana approved the sale of cannabis flower.
Now, with the state seeing drastic increases in the number of patients registering for medical marijuana, it’s likely time for expansion, though legislators are trying to cherry-pick from the expansive list of bills set to increase Louisiana’s cannabis program.
Why is Increasing the Number of Pharmacies Approved to Sell Cannabis a Bad Thing?
Most people aren’t arguing the fact that if Louisiana doesn’t figure out how to efficiently scale its medical cannabis program, shortages will increase right alongside prices.
This is mostly a concern for patients, who are bearing the biggest burden in trying to find cannabis products within a reasonable distance from their home, while trying to figure out how to afford it at the same time.
Legislators are aware of the potential bottleneck, though they’re struggling to find a profitable way to execute.
Governor Edwards was quoted in an interview referencing expanding the number of pharmacies, saying:
“And then you change that framework so that nobody would have made that investment early on, had they known you would come behind and make that change, I think that can be very problematic,”
“Maybe one or two more if there’s some real need for that and whether you have satellite locations operating with those licenses, I think that’s a reasonable discussion to have too,”
This approach fails to recognize the serious concern for medication shortages and rising prices while appealing to the profitability of pharmacies that were granted the exclusive licenses to dispense the medication, though it’s likely that medical marijuana patients don’t really care whether they’re buying their medicine from a satellite store or independent business.
Will Louisiana Increase the Number of Pharmacies Selling Cannabis in 2022?
Number of Pharmacy Locations Likely to Expand
It’s clear there’s some attention on expanding access to medical cannabis in Louisiana, from legislators and citizens alike.
Ultimately, legislators will debate a lot more over how supply chains and profits will be organized and managed rather than precisely how they’ll expand the program, and this is likely why HB768 failed to pass.
Louisiana residents recognize the need for more locations to purchase their medicine from, and legislators recognize the need for those pharmacies to produce high profits with limited competition.
This has been perfectly represented by the monopolized system of cultivators has been handled in Louisiana, though there are bills set to address that as well.
More Access is the Only Answer to Lower Costs with Cannabis
Unfortunately, Louisiana ranks near the end of the ladder when it comes to affordable prices for cannabis in the country.
Almost every medical marijuana program starts with high prices, though the new wave of Southern states looking to legalize has given way to a new breed of cannabis capitalism.
You could argue that high prices and high taxes are the right way to handle cannabis, and that might be true for recreational marijuana.
Medical marijuana, however, is certainly a different animal.
Patients with chronic and terminally ill conditions shouldn’t have limited access to expensive medicine, especially when other areas in the country provide much more efficient and affordable options.
If Louisiana seizes the opportunity to scale-up their medical cannabis program, prices could become more competitive and access to cannabis as a medicine could cover the State efficiently.
And with the long list of bills waiting to pass or fail that could help Louisiana fix its medical marijuana squeeze, we’ll likely see more efficiency in the program soon.
Get Your Louisiana Medical Marijuana Certification
Louisiana’s medical marijuana program is open to patients with any condition that a doctor recommends cannabis for, and you can even receive your medical marijuana card online. Getting your medical marijuana card is simple and easy, and you can get your certification today.
You can become a medical marijuana patient today by consulting with one of our qualified doctors!
Getting a medical marijuana card in Louisiana is easier than ever, beat the lines and get your medical marijuana certification in Louisiana today, and you can even get certified for medical marijuana online for ease of use and convenience.
For questions about Louisiana’s medical marijuana program, or how to become a medical marijuana patient in Louisiana, consult with one of our trusted doctors and book an online medical marijuana appointment today!
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 the 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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