Louisiana Just Got a Slew of New Laws to Support Its Burgeoning Medical Marijuana Industry
The cannabis industry supports the new bills.
The office of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards confirmed Tuesday he has approved nearly 100 bills Tuesday, including several aimed at protecting medical marijuana patients, as well as measures to protect hurricane victims.
Breaking down the bills
Among cannabis-related bills signed into law is House Bill 135, sponsored by Rep. Joe Marina, (I-Gretna), which enables the state's dispensaries to sell medical cannabis products to non-Louisiana residents with medical marijuana cards from another state.
One of the most welcomed by the medical marijuana industry is HB 697 which reforms the state systems for regulating the production of medical cannabis and for dispensing these products. Under this legislation from Rep. Tanner Magee (R), regulatory responsibility for the state's medical marijuana is transferred from the Department of Agriculture and Forestry to the Department of Health. Furthermore, it allows current medical marijuana dispensaries to add new satellite retail stores.
The bill also enables only existing cannabis businesses to qualify for additional licensing opportunities, which already brings worrisome questions around the possibility of new startups joining the industry.
More bills signed into law
There's also House Bill 190, created by Rep. Travis Johnson (D-Vidalia) enables certain nurse practitioners to become a part of the healthcare providers group allowed to recommend medical marijuana treatments.
A proposal from Rep. Cedric Glover (D-Shreveport), House Bill 775, removes equipment used to consume medical cannabis from Louisiana's drug paraphernalia laws.
Another one from Marina, House Bill 137, provides relative immunity from prosecution for medical marijuana possession.
The governor also signed legislation, HB 234, under which smoking or vaping marijuana is forbidden in motor vehicles, and HB 698, which enables fees and charges to be assessed by the Louisiana Department of Health in relation to the regulation of marijuana for therapeutic use.