A framework for Louisiana’s medical marijuana program was established in 2016 when Gov. John Bel Edwards signed Senate Bill 271 into law. However, implementation has been hampered by legislative changes, supply availability, and a lack of testing laboratories, meaning the program is not yet operational.
In theory, the law permits patients to obtain and use medical marijuana for any of a long list of qualifying conditions if they possess a recommendation from a physician authorized by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners to provide one.
Patients with a marijuana-certified physician’s recommendation are permitted to possess a 30-day supply of medical marijuana available in the following forms:
Medical cannabis cannot be obtained in flower form. The law forbids products intended for smoking or vaping, such as certain concentrates.
The precise amount of medical cannabis permitted for possession is yet to be determined. There is also currently no age restriction on medical marijuana consumption.
Home cultivation of medical marijuana is not permitted. Only the agricultural centers at LSU and Southern University are allowed to cultivate and produce medical cannabis. Patients will obtain their medical marijuana at one of the nine state-licensed dispensaries chosen by the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy.
Medical marijuana can be recommended for any of the following medical conditions:
- 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 (PTSD)
- Seizure disorders/spasticity
- Severe muscle spasms
How to Apply for Medical Marijuana in Louisiana
Louisiana does not require medical marijuana patients to get a medical marijuana card. Instead, they must be diagnosed with at least one of the recognized qualifying conditions and obtain a recommendation from a doctor authorized to do so by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners. This may be subject to change as the state’s medical marijuana program becomes fully operational.
The Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners removed a restriction in September 2018 that would have required patients to see their doctor every 90 days in order to renew their order for medical cannabis. It is not yet clear what the subsequent renewal requirements will be.
Where You Can Buy It
The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy has chosen nine distributing pharmacies. A full list of these dispensaries is available here.
The law stipulates that medical marijuana must be produced by a single cultivator and distributed to patients through up to 10 pharmacies. As of June 2019, dispensaries had still not received the state’s first batch of medical marijuana.