Medical marijuana wait: Regulatory hurdle for Louisiana crop

Louisiana's first medical marijuana crop will take longer than expected to reach patients.

GB Sciences, the marijuana grower for the LSU AgCenter, had hoped to provide product to Louisiana's nine licensed medical marijuana pharmacies by September. But the company tells The News-Star the earliest harvest likely will be in November.

John Davis, GB Sciences president, said his company is waiting for the state agriculture department, which is regulating the industry, to sign off on GB Sciences' medical marijuana growing facility plans.

Agriculture Commission Mike Strain said he isn't trying to stall the process. He said GB Sciences has to finish its operating procedures and complete its background checks with the state police.


Guns or marijuana? Some patients will have to make the choice

As Louisiana's medical marijuana program takes shape some patients might have to make a difficult choice: keep their gun ownership rights or participate in the program.

Louisiana is one of 30 states that have approved medical marijuana laws in some form. Although the state's nine dispensaries won't open until later this year, patients who qualify for medical marijuana under Louisiana law may be surprised to learn that federal law restricts their ability to purchase a gun if they use marijuana.


Louisiana adds more aliments to medical marijuana program

Louisiana Governor has signed a bill that extends the state's Medical Marijuana Program to cover more aliments.

It adds glaucoma, severe muscle spasms, intractable pain, post-traumatic stress disorder and Parkinson's disease to the list of diseases and disorders eligible for medicinal-grade marijuana.

The program still covers the original conditions outlined in the first Medical Marijuana legislation that include: cancer, positive status for HIV, AIDS, cachexia or wasting syndrome, seizure disorders, epilepsy, spasticity, Crohn’s disease, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis.


Can Louisiana's fledgling medical marijuana industry keep up with expanded demand?

A recent expansion of treatable conditions in Louisiana's fledgling medical marijuana program could grow the industry by millions of dollars and move the state’s once-narrow program closer to a full-blown medical marijuana industry seen in other states.

But those close to the industry also worry that some of the rules on the program will place bottlenecks on production, and wonder whether the state’s two growers — only one of which is close to getting product on the shelves — will be able to meet the heightened demand.


Louisiana expands medical marijuana program eligibility

More Louisiana residents with chronic pain and suffering will be able to seek treatment for their ailments through the state’s medical marijuana program. Gov. John Bel Edwards agreed to the expansion proposal a few months ahead of when therapeutic cannabis is expected to be available to patients in the state. The Democratic governor signed the new law Saturday, according to his spokesman Richard Carbo.


Louisiana to expand medical marijuana

Two bills expanding medical marijuana in Louisiana will become law after Gov. John Bel Edwards signs the last one this weekend.

House Bill 579 by Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge, adds Parkinson's, glaucoma, severe muscle spasms, chronic pain and post traumatic stress disorder to the 10 conditions currently qualifying for medical marijuana.

Edwards' spokesman Richard Carbo said the governor planned to sign James' bill Saturday, the last day Edwards can sign or veto any bills from the Regular Session that ended May 18. Those that aren't signed or vetoed after Saturday will automatically become law.

"It's something I'm very proud of because this is a medicine I believe can improve the lives of so many people who are suffering," James told USA Today Network Friday.


Louisiana to expand medical marijuana coverage launching this summer

The Louisiana Senate has voted to expand the list of conditions that qualify a patient to use medicinal cannabis. The state’s new medical marijuana program will be launching this summer. The Senate passed two measures adding additional serious medical conditions that qualify a patient for the program on Wednesday.

The first, House Bill 579, passed in the Senate by a margin of 25-9. It adds glaucoma, severe muscle spasms, intractable pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and Parkinson’s disease to the list of qualifying conditions.


New bill would make more people eligible for medical marijuana in Louisiana

A push to make medical marijuana available to even more people is heading to the state senate.

Lobbyists like Tim Hitt have been pushing to make medical marijuana legal for years. Now that it is, he wants to make it available to even more people in Louisiana. "It'll be adding chronic pain, PTSD, muscle spasms, Parkinson’s, and glaucoma," he says about the new bill.

He says about 70 percent of medical marijuana users in the country suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and chronic pain, which is why he thinks state lawmakers need to add those conditions to the list. "For the state not to include those, it would be doing a huge disservice to people that have those conditions, like our veterans," Hitt says.


Medical marijuana bills clear another hurdle, head to the Senate

A group of Louisiana parents of children with severe autism had cause for celebration Wednesday (May 2) as a bill (HB 627) that expands medical marijuana as a treatment option for the condition cleared another hurdle through the legislature.


As medical marijuana program moves forward, Louisiana doctors 'gun shy' about recommending drug

Only a handful of doctors have become licensed to recommend medical marijuana to patients in Louisiana, raising concerns of a “bottleneck” when the drug becomes available in the coming months.

The 15 doctors who have applied for licenses in the state are shrugging off a lingering stigma associated with recommending marijuana, physicians say, especially in a conservative state that only recently authorized a narrowly tailored, highly restrictive program. As of Friday, 15 doctors had applied for the license, with 10 of them now holding active licenses, according to Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners figures.


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