Louisiana House Votes to Expand Medical Marijuana in the State
Louisiana residents who have been prescribed medical marijuana for treatment of their symptoms may soon find the medication easier to obtain. The Louisiana House of Representatives has advanced legislation that would make the availability of the drug and access to the drug a lot easier for the state's residents who have been prescribed the medication.
Louisiana's current medical marijuana laws provide for nine specific pharmacies scattered throughout the state to be used as distribution points for the medicine. The legislation approved by the Louisiana House yesterday would allow for one additional medical marijuana pharmacy license. That would bring the total number of medical marijuana pharmacies in the state up to ten.
However, the legislation stipulates that license holders of those ten pharmacies may open additional locations under their current license. This would seem to satisfy both sides of the medical marijuana expansion discussion.
Accessibility to the drug has been the sticking point for most Louisiana consumers. Think about it like this, there are over 1,400 pharmacies in the state that are allowed to distribute just about every other legal drug that is manufactured. For medical marijuana, that number has only been nine pharmacies. Granted a tenth pharmacy won't make that big of a dent but allowing current licensees the ability to expand will.
The measure also takes into account the pitfalls of rapid expansion. Allowing the current pharmacies, who are already operating as efficiently as possible to take what they have learned in the first four months of legalized smokeable medical marijuana to other locations in the state would seem to be a step in the right direction. These operators already know the ropes, they have a system in place, and they have trained employees too.
The legislation also provides a shift in regulatory authority over medical marijuana in Louisiana. That authority currently lies with the Department of Agriculture. The new legislation would shift that authority to the Department of Health. This makes sense because we are talking about a prescription drug.
The legislation will now go to the Senate for further debate and discussion and should the Senate vote to pass the legislation it would then need Governor Edwards's signature before it can become law.
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