Louisiana medical cannabis patients may soon have access to
smokable cannabis products, as the state legislature passed a bill May 27 to
expand the program’s eligible product list.
This move follows the state taking a step toward decriminalizing
cannabis and legalizing it for adult use after the House advanced three
additional cannabis reforms in early May.
Under the current legislation, medical cannabis patients cannot access whole-plant flower, and smoking is prohibited; however, patients can vaporize cannabis preparations using a “metered-dose inhaler.” A “meter-dose inhaler” is a device that is typically self-administered by the patient and delivers a specific amount of medication to the lungs, according to the bill text.
The new measure would permit physicians to recommend medical cannabis to patients in raw or crude form (or flower) and limit dispensing of certain forms of medical cannabis. It would also establish medical cannabis rules and regulations for the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy, the bill text states. The Senate passed the measure, House Bill 391, in a 23 to 14 vote.
Under the new legislation, pharmacies can dispense up to two and a half ounces of raw or crude cannabis every 14 days for therapeutic use to patients 21 years and older.
Rep. Tanner Magee, who sponsored the bill, argued that Louisiana lawmakers must keep up with surrounding states legalizing smokable medical cannabis, or the program will be rendered obsolete, The Advocate reported.
According to The Advocate, the Senate made technical changes to the measure, and it now heads back to the House to approve the changes. Once approved, the bill will advance to Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards for his signature. If passed, the measure will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.