Policy Recommendations Louisiana

2019-2020 Improvements and Recommendations for Louisiana

Louisiana continued to organize improvements to its limited medical cannabis program in 2020, with Governor Edwards signing HB 81922 into law. The bill eliminated the state's list of qualifying conditions, allowing doctors to recommend cannabis to patients as they see fit beginning on August 1, 2020. While the elimination of qualifying conditions is a huge stride for the Bayou State, significant work remains before the state's system is functional for patient use. One of the most important issues for lawmakers to tackle in 2021 is patient access, as authorized cannabis products did not begin to reach patients until August of 2019 at only nine approved pharmacies.

ASA recommends increasing the number of legal medical retailers from which patients can secure medicine, authorizing delivery of cannabis medicine to patients, as well as a caregiver system to support patient access. Improvements in patient protections are also called for, specifically related to employment, housing and parental rights, as are improvements in cultivation, testing laboratory and pharmacy operating procedures and staff training.

Responding to COVID Louisiana declared medical cannabis businesses essential, allowed for telehealth visits as a substitute for in-person patient evaluation and authorized licensed medical cannabis retailers to deliver to patients regardless of patient location.