Louisiana's first attempt at medical marijuana legalization came in 2015 and failed due to incorrect language surrounding prescriptions. After much back and forth, Senate Bill 271, which amended the bill from the previous year's language was signed by Governor John Bel Edwards in May 2016.
Though the 2015 Bill, SB143, was not successful in its medical cannabis efforts, it did decriminalize cannabis statewide. Under the SB 143, first time possession was punishable by a $300 fine and 15 days in jail, a second offense by up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail, a third offense by up a $2,500 fine and up to two years in jail, and fourth or subsequent offenses by up to a $5,000 fine and eight years in prison.
Decriminalization was then expanded under House Bill 652. Effective August 1, 2021, up to 14 grams of cannabis is punishable by a fine of up to $100. Be aware that possession of more than 14 grams is subject to harsher punishments. You can be fined up to $1000 and face jail for up to six month for a second offense, up to $2000 and up to 2 years for a third offense and up to $5000 and 8 years for four or more convictions.
The law currently allows for qualified patients to possess up to a 30-day supply on non-smokable medical marijuana products.
Patients may purchase up to a 30-day supply of medical cannabis. However, unlike many other medical cannabis programs, Louisiana does not define a 30-day supply as a fixed amount. Rather, that amount is determined by the recommending physician.Where to Buy
Patients with the following conditions are protected by Louisiana’s medical marijuana regulations:
Qualifying Medical Marijuana Conditions:
- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome. (AIDS)
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Concussion diagnosed by a physician.
- Crohn’s disease
- Chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia.
- Chronic pain associated with sickle cell disease.
- Intractable pain
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Parkinson’s disease
- Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Post traumatic disorder
- Seizure disorders
- Severe muscle spasms
- Spinal muscular atrophy.
- Traumatic brain injury.
- Any of the following neurodegenerative diseases and conditions:
- Alzheimer’s disease.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
- Huntington’s disease.
- Lewy body dementia.
- Motor neuron disease.
- Parkinson’s disease.
- Any of the following conditions associated with autism spectrum disorder:
- Repetitive or self-stimulatory behavior of such severity that the physical health of the person with autism is jeopardized.
- Avoidance of others or inability to communicate of such severity that the physical health of the person with autism is jeopardized.
- Self-injuring behavior.
- Physically aggressive or destructive behavior.
- Any condition for which a patient is receiving hospice care or palliative care.
- Any condition not otherwise specified that a physician, in their medical opinion, considers debilitating to an individual patient and is qualified through their medical education and training to treat.
Previously, marijuana was not permitted in raw or smokable form for Louisiana medical patients, however it is now allowed after the passing of HB391. Oils, extracts, tinctures, sprays, capsules, pills, solutions, suspension, gelatin-based chewables, lotions, transdermal patches, and suppositories are allowed as well.
Consumption is only allowed in private residences, and is not permitting in public under any circumstance.
Driving Under the Influence
Medical marijuana patients are subject to Louisiana’s drugged driving laws, and can still be fined and charged in accordance with state law.
While Senate Bill 271 made no mention of caregivers, Senate Bill 180, signed in 2016 by Gov. Edwards, does grant protection from prosecution to registered minors and their parent/guardian caregivers.
Patients and/or their caregivers may transport their medical marijuana supply, but it must be accompanied by their prescription and in its original packaging.
There are no reciprocity allowances in current Louisiana medical marijuana regulations.
Only two cultivators have been granted licenses in Louisiana, one in conjunction with LSU, and another with Southern University. Home growing for medical marijuana patients is not allowed in any capacity.
Louisiana regulations do not allow cannabis delivery.