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Updated: Jan 1 2022
A new law that goes into effect on January 1 would vastly expand the state’s medical cannabis program by giving patients access to flower cannabis products.
As it currently stands, patients are able to vaporize cannabis preparations via a “metered-dose inhaler,” but smoking is not allowed.
Like many American states, Louisiana has not yet accepted legal recreational weed into its communal blossom. However, there have been motions in the past 4 years which are moving the state towards some big changes. The first step is almost always the understanding and legalizing medicinal cannabis. Then, usually, once it has been discovered that cannabis can be an extremely positive societal influence, change is imminent.
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Medicinal Weed In Louisiana
In 2015 a bill was introduced by the Louisiana government that began to pave the way for medicinal cannabis. It took a few years, but in 2019 medicinal marijuana finally became available to the public. Sales of medicinal marijuana kicked off in August of last year and were followed by immediate success.
Former Governor Kathleen Blanco was extremely unwell when medicinal cannabis came into play. Her child shared that cannabis was a game-changer for Gov. Blanco in her last days. She was extremely close to death but with the help of medicinal cannabis extracts, she was able to eat and converse normally. She survived two weeks past doctors expectations and saw her 55th wedding anniversary. Cannabis allowed Governor Blanco to once again talk to her loved ones before her passing. It also saw her celebrate her emerald wedding anniversary. What a special last experience to have.
Unfortunately, the program is still extremely restrictive. Patients are not allowed flower, and can only use cannabis extracts, which can only legally be used through a vaporizer. Many patients still require the immediate relief smoking a joint provides, but at least things are moving in the right direction.
On the upside, there are a lot of conditions which qualify patients for medicinal cannabis. The state has already expanded the qualifying conditions list before, and will likely look to further expansions. Currently, the list is as follows:
- Glaucoma (recently added)
- Severe muscular spasms (recently added)
- Intractable pain (recently added)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (recently added)
- Parkinson’s disease (recently added)
- Cachexia (wasting syndrome)
- Crohn’s disease
- Muscular dystrophy
- Multiple sclerosis
Louisiana Weed Laws
In Louisiana recreational weed is still not legal, and possession can lead to fines and jail time. Though a first offence of 14 grams or under will not be classed as a felony, it may result in up to 15 days incarceration and a $300 fine. Being caught with up to 2.5 pounds as a first offense, and that could be extended to 6 months and $500. First and second time offenders may be eligible for probation, but after that, the repercussions are quite intense.
The prison time and fines increase with the amount, going up to a maximum fine of $1,000,000 for possession. You’d have to be caught with over 10,000 pounds for that though. How they catch someone with 10,000 pounds but don’t find them guilty of intent to distribute is beyond me. Maybe they find you with an incredible amount of snacks, gaming consoles, and scattered DVDs (if people still use them)?
Mississippi Weed Laws
For the distribution or cultivation of cannabis, the laws are slightly different. Even for a first offender, there is likely to be a minimum sentence of 5 years and a fine of $50,000. Selling weed to a minor comes with a minimum of 5 years, but can go up to 90 years if caught a second time.
The Future Of Weed In The Pelican State
It took 4 years for the beginnings of medicinal cannabis to be accepted by the government, so it may be a while until full legalization is achieved. Not that they are necessarily correlated, but Louisiana is typically a very red state. Only the larger cities of New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport on average vote Democrat. But again, that doesn’t really mean anything. The best example of this is Alaska, having recreational weed for some time now.
So far the state has two major cannabis cultivation centers. One at Louisiana State University and the other at Southern University, both of which are overseen by the agricultural department. The use of medicinal cannabis is still in its infancy and we can’t expect anything amazing just yet. Hopefully, as medicinal weed proves its worth, as it always does, it will pave the way towards legal weed in Louisiana.