In early August, Louisiana passed a bill for the distribution and use of medical marijuana across the state. The passage came nearly four years after the state legislature actually approved it. Regulatory challenges held up the law from going into effect. Legalizing medical marijuana in Louisiana was viewed as a milestone since the Pelican State is one of the first in the Deep South to pass a medical marijuana bill.
There’s plenty of excitement across the state about the bill’s passage. But it’s also important to consider what this new law means for the residents of Louisiana.
Who Will Benefit from Medical Marijuana in Louisiana?
Medical marijuana is not scientifically different from recreational marijuana. According to doctors, the physical properties are the same. The difference, however, is that medical marijuana is taken to heal or relieve symptoms from an ailment or chronic illness. Currently, only people with specific medical diagnoses will be able to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes. Current eligible conditions listed by the state include:
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Cachexia/wasting syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Intractable pain (defined as “pain so chronic or severe as to otherwise warrant an opiate prescription”)
- Muscular dystrophy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Seizure disorders/spasticity
- Severe muscle spasms
Those who are eligible for medical marijuana according to these standards need to obtain written proof of eligibility in the form of a prescription from their physician.
Dispensaries for Medical Marijuana in Louisiana
Once a person is approved for medical marijuana in Louisiana, they’ll be able to purchase it from a certified marijuana dispensary. The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy has named nine pharmacies across the state of Louisiana as the only locations that can distribute medical marijuana. Cities with eligible pharmacies include New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Alexandria, Houma, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Shreveport, West Monroe, and Madisonville.
With an official prescription, those eligible for medical marijuana will be able to obtain a 30-day supply in a non-smokable form.
Understanding Medical Marijuana Laws
Although medical marijuana has been approved for use across the state, for anyone who doesn’t meet the eligibility standards, marijuana possession laws still apply. That means it’s still unlawful for someone to possess, grow, and distribute marijuana in Louisiana. Furthermore, if a person with a medical marijuana prescription is found to be growing their own marijuana or distributing their medical marijuana, they’ll be penalized according to state law. Penalties for possession of marijuana include:
- Minimum fines of $300
- Possible incarceration
- Community service
- Loss of driver’s license
Those who are caught violating Louisiana’s marijuana laws should contact an attorney immediately. A knowledgeable defense is the only way to minimize or eliminate the charges they face.
Trustworthy Drug Crime Defense Lawyers in Louisiana
At The John D. and Eric G. Johnson Law Firm, we have more than 25 years of experience defending individuals facing drug charges in Louisiana. We employ a unique approach to building credible cases and have helped thousands of people win the ruling they deserve. To schedule your free consultation and see how we can help you, call our office at 318-377-1555 or use our convenient online contact form today!