A bill that would allow Lousiana patients to inhale medical marijuana passed out of committee on Wednesday. It now moves for debate and a vote on the house floor.
HB 358 was authored by Baton Rouge Representative Ted James and makes two major changes to medical marijuana law in Lousiana. The first change allows patients to smoke or vape medical marijuana. Currently, patients are only allowed to use topical creams and/or tinctures.
According to a report in the Monroe News Star, several veterans suffering from PTSD testified in support of the bill, saying that inhalation provides more immediate relief of their symptoms. Swallowing a pill or a liquid can take as long as two hours to take effect.
“Inhalation is extremely important to making the medical cannabis program work for many in Lousiana,” said Elodie Carter of the New Orleans-based advocacy group CommonSenseNOLA. “I’m elated this bill is out of committee and on to the house.”
The second change removes restrictions which doctors can recommend medical marijuana for patients. Currently, only doctors who live in Louisiana can prescribe medical marijuana for patients. If passed, HB 358 would allow doctors who live out of state but who have obtained a therapeutic medical marijuana license in Louisiana to work with patients.
In Louisiana, patients only qualify for a medical marijuana prescription if they have a debilitating medical condition such as:
- Chron’s disease
- Intractable pain
- Immunodeficiency virus
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Severe autism spectrum disorder
- Seizure disorders
- Severe muscle spasms
Currently, only 108 physicians in Lousiana have applied for a therapeutic medical marijuana license.
Jenn Bentley is a writer and editor originally from Cadiz, Kentucky. Her writing has been featured in publications such as The Examiner, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, and others. When she’s not writing or editing, Jenn spends her time raising money for Extra Life and advocating for autism awareness.