Louisiana has a long and storied relationship with marijuana, being the first state to (technically) legalize medical marijuana in 1978. The legislation was toothless, as was the 1991 bill that expanded qualifying conditions, and no real system was ever established. The next significant step came in June of 2015, when Governor Bobby Jindal singed into law, the Alison Neustrom Act, or SB143, intended to establish medical marijuana.

Language in the bill surrounding “prescribing” cannabis, instead of “recommending” kept the bill from being enacted. Subsequently, initial progress was minimal, requiring another bill in 2016. SB271 was passed to correct the issues with previous legislation and move towards an established system. It would be another 3 years until dispensaries finally opened in August of 2019. Dispensaries are now operating in the state. Though smokable cannabis was initially banned in the state's medical system, it is now permitted following the passing of HB391

Though marijuana for recreational use remains illegal in the state, Louisiana decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis under House Bill 652. As of Aug 1, 2021 possession of under 14 grams is punishable by a fine of up to $100.