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, the bill did decriminalize cannabis statewide. Under the bill, first time possession is 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.
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.
Patients with the following conditions are protected by Louisiana’s medical marijuana regulations:
Qualifying Medical Marijuana Conditions:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Intractable pain
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Parkinson’s disease
- Positive status for HIV
- Post traumatic disorder
- Seizure disorders
- Severe muscle spasms
- Some symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder
In Louisiana, medical marijuana cannot be in raw form or smoked. Permissible cannabis forms are oils, extracts, tinctures, sprays, capsules, pills, solutions, suspension, gelatin-based chewables, lotions, transdermal patches, and suppositories.
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.