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.

However, language in the bill surrounding “prescribing” cannabis, instead of “recommending” kept the bill from being enacted. Still, little progress was made, requiring another bill in 2016. SB271 was passed to correct the issues with previous legislation, and move towards an established system. Yet it would be another 3 years until dispensaries finally opened, in August of 2019. Dispensaries are now operating in the state.

Marijuana for recreational use remains illegal in Louisiana. However, though ineffectual in starting medical marijuana in the state, the original SB143 decriminalized small amounts of cannabis reducing punishment to a $300 fine and/or 15 days in jail