Several Progressive Marijuana Bills Land on Governor Edwards’ Desk
It seems like the good news just keeps coming in for people who get a Louisiana Marijuana Card, as the legislature recently passed several bills expanding the rights of patients and improving the state’s cannabis market overall.
The state legislature has recently been weighing more than two dozen marijuana related bills, and now the first five of those potential laws to be passed are sitting on Governor John Bel Edwards’ desk awaiting his signature or veto.
We already told you about one of those bills, HB 988, which says that “No state employer shall subject an employee or prospective employee to negative employment consequences based solely on a positive drug test for marijuana” if that employee has a Louisiana Marijuana Card.
Among the other four bills awaiting the governor’s signature is HB 137, which protects cannabis patients who visit Louisiana from criminal prosecution. Another, HB 190, would allow certain nurse practitioners to authorize patients to receive Louisiana Marijuana Cards.
The other two bills both protect patients from being prosecuted for their legal use of medical marijuana, and we’ll explore them in more detail below. Taken as a whole, all of the bills involve expanding the rights of cannabis users and improving the state’s marijuana market, showing that Louisiana's young, small market is here to stay and is only going to get better.
Furthermore, the passage of these bills continues a pattern that has occurred in state after state: Once states finally welcome medical marijuana, they tend to gradually and steadily expand their programs and ease restrictions.
In other words, when states try medical marijuana, they tend to like it, and decide they want to do more to maximize its benefits. These four bills show that Louisiana seems to be following that pattern.
Most of the bills were sponsored by Representative Cedric Glover, who told The Advocate that the laws were “appropriate” since last year the state decriminalized both possession of small amounts of marijuana and cannabis flower.
House Bill 629 Bars Warrantless Searches Based on Cannabis Odor
Should it become law, HB 629 would bar police from conducting warrantless searches of a private residence based solely on officers smelling marijuana.
It’s obvious why Representative Glover would consider this particular bill “appropriate.” After all, if flower marijuana use is legal amongst those with a Louisiana Marijuana Card, and if small amounts of marijuana have been decriminalized for all residents of the Pelican State, then the odor of marijuana alone is not evidence of a crime.
And again, this is an example of a larger pattern of loosening regulations on cannabis in states where medical marijuana markets have been established. According to NORML.org, “Several other states that have either legalized or decriminalized the use of marijuana by adults have enacted similar prohibitions on police conduct.”
The inability to conduct searches based on marijuana odor has been cited by police officials around the country as a reason not to legalize medical marijuana or to expand existing markets. Police say that the ability to conduct warrantless searches based on the evidence of a crime allows them to catch criminals they’d otherwise miss, but is that any reason to ban an activity or substance that otherwise should be legal?
Yes, perhaps some criminals who once would have been caught based on a probable cause search might now escape Louisiana law enforcement, but if that’s a reason to subject law-abiding residents to warrantless searches, then why not just ban more things? If we outlaw soft drinks, police could search your car if they thought you’d been drinking Coke. And if the police searched the car of every suspected Coke drinker they pulled over, why I bet they’d catch more criminals!
Appropriate indeed, Representative Glover.
House Bill 775 Legalizes Marijuana Paraphernalia for Cannabis Patients
Like HB 629, HB 775 protects Louisiana Marijuana Card holders by protecting them from legal consequences for their authorized medicine use.
If it becomes law, HB 775 would legalize marijuana-related paraphernalia that is “solely used or intended for use for the inhalation of raw or crude marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinols, or a chemical derivative of tetrahydrocannabinols when the person is a patient of a state-sponsored medical marijuana program.”
Again, this is just a logical extension of the state’s existing medical marijuana and general cannabis policies. If possessing a small amount of cannabis is legal, then why should it be illegal to own cannabis paraphernalia? And if it is legal for Louisiana Marijuana Card holders to possess and smoke marijuana flower, then why should they face legal consequences for owning the tools that allow them to do so?
Louisiana’s Medical Marijuana Market is Improving All the Time. Don’t Miss Out!
Remember, only people with a Louisiana Marijuana Card can legally use cannabis in the Bayou State, and only cardholders have any protection at all from termination for doing so.
With lawmakers working to pass so many improvements to the state’s program, including employment protections, why wait any longer to find out if medical marijuana is right for you?
You’ll discuss your conditions and learn if you qualify for a Louisiana Marijuana Card all without leaving the safety and comfort of your own home. If your doctor determines that you do not qualify for a card, the cost of your evaluation will be refunded, minus a small fee if we helped you get your medical records.
Not only that, but reserve an evaluation online today, and you’ll save $25 off the cost of the evaluation. You have literally nothing to lose, and safe, natural relief to gain!
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!
Check out Louisiana Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Louisiana!