Medical marijuana is now legal in Louisiana, after both the House and Senate voted to approve the measure on June 8. The bill, which was sponsored by state Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge, allows patients with a wide range of medical conditions to purchase marijuana from one of nine medical marijuana dispensaries across the state.
In 2015, the state legislature passed a law that would allow for legal medical marijuana cultivation and a state dispensary system. But the state technically already legalized medical marijuana in 1978, and then once more in 1991.
The delay in implementation was due to disagreements between lawmakers and the governor over how the program should be run. However, the state now has medical marijuana dispensaries.
Medical marijuana is currently legal in a number of states, including Louisiana. Patients with certain medical conditions are able to obtain a doctor's recommendation for medical marijuana use.
While this introduction should answer your main question about medical marijuana legality in Louisiana, keep reading to learn more about its history in the state.
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Does Louisiana Have Marijuana Access?
Yes, medical marijuana is currently legal in Louisiana. Patients with certain medical conditions are able to obtain a doctor's recommendation for medical marijuana use. However, it is still unclear when legal medical marijuana cultivation and dispensaries will be up and running in the state.
At this point, the state is in the middle of some serious progress. The first dispensing of legal medical cannabis started in 2019. Since then, Louisiana's medical marijuana program has grown and the state has implemented new reforms to its criminal laws.
Louisiana Medical Marijuanas Law 2022
Several laws have amended Louisiana's marijuana policies.
House Bill 629 (now Act 473) prohibits the police from performing a warrantless search of someone's place of residence based only on cannabis odor. Other states that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana for adults have implemented comparable prohibitions on police activities.
Another bill signed into law this past spring, HB 988 (now Act 651), defends qualified patients from being discriminated against in the workplace. It states, “No state employer shall subject an employee or prospective employee to negative employment consequences based solely on a positive drug test for marijuana” if they're registered with the state of Louisiana as a medical cannabis patient. Twenty-one states and Washington, D.C. have put similar laws in place that make it illegal for employers to not hire or to discriminate against job applicants and employee who use medical marijuana, under specific conditions.
House Bill 775 (Act 499) amends the criminal code of the state to legalize any marijuana-related equipment that is “solely used or intended for use for the inhalation of raw or crude marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, or a chemical derivative of tetrahydrocannabinol when the person is a patient of a state-sponsored medical marijuana program."
The fourth bill, HB 137 (Act 439), decriminalizes out-of-state medical cannabis patients.
And then there's a fifth bill, HB 190. This bill expands the number of health professionals who are allowed to issue medical cannabis authorization to include some Louisiana nurse practitioners.
These laws are a huge step in the right direction for Louisiana. With more and more states legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana, it's important that Louisiana keeps up with the changing times. These new laws will help protect patients and ensure that they have access to the medicine they need.
As of January 1, 2022, it will be illegal to smoke or vape marijuana while operating a motor vehicle in Louisiana. violators will face a $100 fine. This law applies to drivers and passengers alike. However, police officers can only enforce this law as a secondary action when they have stopped the driver for another violation.
Love this post? Check out our other article on when Louisiana will get medical marijuana before you go.
Louisiana Medical Marijuana FAQ
Are edibles legal in Louisiana?
Edibles have been legal in Louisiana since 2015. This state was the first to legalize medical marijuana in the Deep South. However, it implemented restrictions on production, elevated prices, and a ban on smokable medical marijuana. Edibles have remained legal throughout medical marijuana legality in Louisiana.
How much medical marijuana can I get in Louisiana?
At the moment, only two-and-a-half ounces of cannabis can be acquired per patient every 14 days will be allowed. Dispensaries cannot supply cannabis in its raw/flower form to anyone under the age of 21 with a specific recommendation from a doctor.
Can I smoke medical marijuana in public Louisiana?
Medical marijuana consumption is not allowed in public in Louisiana. Furthermore, the state lacks reciprocity provisions, meaning if you're planning to purchase and consume in the state, you'll need to be a Louisiana resident.