Louisiana medical cannabis patients will now have access to smokable cannabis products, as Gov. John Bel Edwards signed House Bill 391 into law on June 22.
This move follows Edwards signing a legislation to decriminalize cannabis on June 15.
Under the previous legislation, medical cannabis patients could not access whole-plant flower, and smoking was prohibited; however, patients could vaporize cannabis preparations using a “metered-dose inhaler.” A “meter-dose inhaler” is a device that is typically self-administered by the patient and delivers a specific amount of medication to the lungs, according to the bill text.
The new measure permits physicians to recommend medical cannabis to patients in raw or crude form (or flower) and limit dispensing of certain forms of medical cannabis. It establishes medical cannabis rules and regulations for the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy, the bill text states.
Under the new legislation, pharmacies can dispense up to two and a half ounces of raw or crude cannabis every 14 days for therapeutic use to patients 21 years and older.
Rep. Tanner Magee, who sponsored the bill, argued that Louisiana lawmakers must keep up with surrounding states legalizing smokable medical cannabis, or the program will be rendered obsolete, The Advocate reported.
According to The Advocate, now that Edwards has signed the legislation, measure will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, permitting all nine medical cannabis pharmacies in the state to sell smokable cannabis products.