Louisiana House Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

Green Louisiana

On May 11, 2016, the Louisiana House of Representatives voted to approve SB 271, a bill designed to help kick start the state’s sputtering medical marijuana program.

SB 271 would expand upon the number of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, change the language in existing law that could potentially expose doctors to federal interference, and make it easier for patients to get their hands on medicine.

The bill would also set a Sept. 1 deadline for Southern University and LSU to make a decision about whether to be state sanctioned medical marijuana cultivators. In addition to the selection of cultivator, the state will also have to select 10 licensed distributors as well.

With a vote of 61-32, NOLA.com reports that the margin was much higher than previously expected, especially with opposition from law enforcement. In the days leading up to the vote, many law enforcement officials condemned the bill as a gateway to legalization, but the majority of lawmakers rejected that notion.

“The fear that people are going to vote against it at home just doesn’t hold water,” said Rep. Terry Landry. “The notion that this leads to legalization is nonsense. It’s fear mongering.”

The bill will now go back to the Louisiana State Senate for final approval, where it is expected to pass.

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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