New bill to allow expanded usage of medicinal marijuana
According to openstate.org, new legislation concerning relaxed medical marijuana restrictions passed through Louisiana's Senate yesterday and is heading to Governor Edwards for approval. The new bill, HB819, would authorize any state-licensed physician to recommend medical marijuana and does not limit its usage to particular conditions.
As reported by The Advocate, at present, physicians are required to register with the Board of Medical Examiners in order to recommend marijuana to patients suffering from specific conditions, such as cancer or Parkinson's disease. Under the new bill, lawmakers would no longer have the power to determine what conditions constitute acceptable usage of medicinal marijuana. Instead, doctors who are in good standing would be able to suggest the drug for any situation (that they are qualified to treat), and which they would consider "debilitating to an individual patient."
Louisiana once boasted some of the country's strictest laws regarding the usage of medical marijuana. However, since 2015—the conception of the state's medical marijuana program—these rules have slowly slackened.
State Representative Larry Bagley has spearheaded this bill,
and it has been met with little resistance. The legislation soared through the House
and Senate with 77 votes in the House and 28 votes in the Senate. Now, to be
made law, HB819 requires only the signature of Governor Edwards, a supporter of
expanded medical marijuana usage.