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Louisiana Legislature Passes Medical Cannabis Proposal

The Louisiana Senate voted on Monday to approve changes made by the House to a medical cannabis proposal that is now headed to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ desk. The governor is expected to sign the bill — making Louisiana the 25th U.S. state to establish a comprehensive medical marijuana program — according to a NOLA.com report.

The bill was proposed by Sen. Fred Mills (R-Parks), a St. Martin Parish pharmacist.

If the governor signs the law, two schools — Louisiana State University and Southern University — may choose to opt into the role of producing marijuana for the program. If neither does, however, production rights for medicinal cannabis in Louisiana will be transferred to the private sector.

The program would allow for ten specialized medical marijuana pharmacies throughout the state.

Both the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association and the Louisiana District Attorneys Association oppose the legislation because of a change that means doctors will only be “recommending” cannabis, not “prescribing” it — this means doctors will no longer be jeopardizing their DEA license, which prohibits the prescription of a Schedule 1 substance, by participating in the medical marijuana program.

The House of Appropriations Committee passed separate legislation on Monday, which would grant a 7 percent cut from medical marijuana sales to the Department of Agriculture to aid it in regulating the program.

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