About Cannabis in Louisiana
In recent Louisiana cannabis reform, HB 460 has been signed into law and took immediate effect. House Bill 460 allows current licensed medical marijuana pharmacies in regions with at least 3,500 active patients to apply for new locations as the patient population grows. If existing pharmacies do not apply to expand, the law also provides more licenses to new upcoming medical marijuana pharmacies to support the population growth of active medical consumers.
These new licensing regulations will provide a more equitable geographic distribution of marijuana pharmacies across the state by allowing regulators to issue additional licenses to increase the number of available medical cannabis dispensaries.
House Bill 286 allows first-time offenders with marijuana possession misdemeanor offense charges to file a motion for expungement of records within ninety days of their conviction. ”
Louisiana has historically been slow-moving when it comes to cannabis legalization–even on the medical side. The Bayou State made a significant change in the Louisiana Therapeutic Marijuana Act in August 2020 by broadening HB819 to allow any state-licensed physician to recommend medical cannabis to a patient they deem would benefit from it. This is a far cry from the state cannabis program that took almost four years to start up since legalization in 2016.
Though legislators had a list of qualifying conditions that made patients eligible for the program, the high cost of treatment has kept many from being able to afford medical cannabis, according to a local CBS news station. After a four-year hold-up, Louisiana set the bar for the Deep South States by broadening the program by allowing “doctors to recommend medical marijuana for any patient they believe it would help.” Only time will tell if expanding the program will curb high costs of treatment some citizens can’t seem to afford.
Meanwhile, becoming a Louisiana medical cannabis cardholder is much easier than in 2019, with all state-certified doctors prescribing the plant in several forms, including oils, extracts, tinctures, sprays, capsules, pills, gelatin-based chewables, topicals, transdermal patches, and suppositories. As of January 1, 2022 smokable forms of cannabis are allowed under certain conditions.
As of June 2021, Louisiana is also working on passing a new medical cannabis measure. House Bill 391 is working its way to getting signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards. This bill would expand the medical marijuana program by allowing patients the ability to purchase up to two and a half ounces of medical cannabis flower every two weeks. It would also allow physicians to recommend that patients can inhale cannabis or purchase cannabis flower for other purposes.
In 2022, Louisiana passed several bills that are relevant to medical cannabis patients. The 5 house bills that were passed went into effect in August, 2022. Act 473 prohibits police from conducting a warrantless search of a home based solely upon the smell of cannabis. Act 651 protects qualified patients from workplace discrimination. Act 499 legalizes any cannabis-related paraphernalia for medical marijuana patients. Act 438 and 439 provide protections from criminal prosecution to out-of-state medical marijuana patients. Act 444 expands who can issue medical cannabis authorizations. Now nurse practitioners are able to make authorizations.
Applying for Medical Marijuana in Louisiana
Unlike other states, there is no particular application program in the state of Louisiana that must be completed to apply for medical marijuana. Initially, patients will have to meet a doctor to talk about their condition. Once you obtain a valid doctor’s recommendation and are finally entitled to medicinal cannabis in the state, you will be registered to the program, at which time you can visit a cannabis pharmacy to purchase legal medication.
But it’s not always an easy task to find a medical doctor in Louisiana that can recommend you for medical cannabis. There are conflicting reports about how many doctors actually qualify to issue marijuana recommendations in the state.
Veriheal took the difficult part of the equation and simplified the whole process of medical marijuana approval. For a quick consultation, Veriheal will connect you with an approved healthcare professional so you can access your medicine as quickly as possible.
Before the Bayou State medical cannabis program broadened in 2020, the following conditions were the only disorders eligible for treatment:
However, that changed. Now according to the law, any health disorder that “a physician, in his medical opinion, considers debilitating to an individual patient and is qualified through his medical education and training to treat.” Therefore, the Louisiana medical cannabis card program is expanding to allow physicians to prescribe medical cannabis for treatment of conditions outside of the original list of qualifying conditions.
Now with the expanded program and Veriheal’s assistance, Louisiana locals can receive a physician consultation and approval for $199, with a full money back guarantee if you are not approved.
Additionally, all patients must be able to prove residency, supplying a valid driver’s license or state identification card upon application. The state does not require patients to register or receive a medical marijuana card. The physician will fax patient certifications directly to the dispensary of your choice.
Caregivers in Louisiana
A Louisiana caregiver must:
- Be 21-years-old or older to purchase and help administer medical cannabis to a patient
- Have significant responsibility for managing the well-being of a patient
- Not have been convicted of a disqualifying felony offense
- Assists no more than five qualifying patients with their therapeutic use 3 of cannabis, unless the designated caregiver’s qualifying patients each reside in or are 4 admitted to a healthcare facility or residential care facility where the designated 5 caregiver is employed.
Like the patient, the caregiver must also prove residency by submitting a driver’s license or state identification card.
Possession and Cultivation Limits of Medical Marijuana in Louisiana
Louisiana allows patients to possess up to a 30-day supply of medical cannabis in any form other than flower. The state has two medical cannabis facilities that produce different forms of cannabis, including oil, tincture, topicals, capsules, gelatin-based chewables, and inhalers, all of which are sold in nine state-wide pharmacies conveniently located throughout Louisiana.
In June of 2021, Louisiana made another big step regarding cannabis access. Gov. John Bel Edwards signed House Bill 652 into law, reducing the threat of jail time for low level marijuana possession offenses. Beginning August 1, 2021, the penalty for possessing up to 14 grams of cannabis is a $100 fine only, removing the threat of jail time. However, possession charges will still show up on a criminal record as a misdemeanor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, all applicants must provide a state issued driver’s license or identification card to prove their place of residence or they are not eligible for a card.
Meeting with a licensed Louisiana physician.
The first step is to schedule a physician appointment with Veriheal. After the appointment and all medical records are uploaded and evaluated by the physician, he or she will recommend certification if you are approved.
From start to finish, the physician consultation usually takes 10-15 minutes.
The state of Louisiana requires that you buy any medical cannabis prescriptions from state approved dispensaries. As of 2022, raw smokeable flower is not sold in the state; however, several other forms of cannabis are prescribed, including oils, extracts, tinctures, sprays, capsules, pills, gelatin-based chewables, topicals, transdermal patches, and suppositories.
Veriheal has a very high approval rate for medical cannabis licensure. However, if you are not approved, you will be refunded in full.
Louisiana considers “intractable pain” as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis.
No. Driving or operating any kind of vehicle such as a motor vehicle, boat, or aircraft while under influence of marijuana is not allowed.
No. The use of medical marijuana is prohibited in public places under the law.
Medical cannabis patients are able to purchase all forms of medical cannabis products other than dry flower. Products available at Louisiana dispensaries include including oils, extracts, tinctures, sprays, capsules, pills, gelatin-based chewables, topicals, transdermal patches, and suppositories
In Louisiana, any health disorder that “a physician, in their medical opinion, considers debilitating to an individual patient and is qualified through his medical education and training to treat” may qualify for medical cannabis.
Yes, renewing your medical card in Louisiana is simple with Veriheal. In Louisiana, patients will need to recertify their license annually by seeing a licensed physician again. Veriheal will get in touch with you when your certification is approaching its expiration to help you set up a renewal consultation.