Louisiana medical marijuana program still has issues to work out

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – Since Louisiana introduced its medical marijuana program in 2019, there have been multiple efforts to make it competitive with other programs in neighboring states. But so far, we’re still far behind.

“It’s not any more accessible than it is right now,” said Commission Chairman Rep. Joseph Marino (I).

Last year a bill was signed into law allowing more marijuana pharmacies in the state. Louisiana currently has only nine operating pharmacies.

“But I don’t think it’s working very effectively at all because maybe by next year we’ll have 10 or 11,” said Rep. Marino.

The commission wanted to know why there has been confusion about whether or not doctors can recommend marijuana over telehealth, a way for patients to consult with doctors over the internet instead of driving to a clinic. But some medical experts who showed up today believe its federal classification as a schedule one drug prevents doctors from using it.

Another bill by Rep. Travis Johnson allows nurse practitioners to recommend medical cannabis to help patients in rural areas where access is low. But again the federal scheduling has fogged the air around the law. Even marijuana patients showed up to give their input.

“When we go get cannabis at dispensaries, we don’t have terpenes labeled on our cannabis products, and the terpenes are what’s usually gonna mean the effect of the cannabis,” said Tommy Landry with Veterans Actions Council.

The commission says they plan to meet again soon to revisit the issues discussed today and see if there’s still any confusion they need to sort out. On top of that they will also be reviewing how to implement home delivery for some of the more sick and elderly patients. But no date or time has been set for that meeting as of right now.

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