Louisiana House approves Hemp Legislation — But does it go far enough?

The Louisiana House unanimously passed a bill to make hemp cultivation legal on Wednesday — but advocates continue to point out that the legislation does not go far enough to provide clarity in the state’s legal system. Given recent law enforcement policing of CBD distributors, that’s a major issue.


Louisiana bills seek to legalize marijuana

More than a dozen bills related to marijuana have been filed by Louisiana legislators for this year’s session, including three that would take different paths to full legalization.

House Bill 462 by Rep. Cedric Glover, D-Shreveport, calls for a state constitutional amendment that would allow local governing authorities to hold elections to decide whether sale, possession, distribution and use of marijuana would be permitted in their jurisdictions. Constitutional amendments require approval of two-thirds of the members of the state House and Senate and a majority of voters.


Advocates want medical marijuana available in Louisiana by May 15

Increasingly frustrated with delays in access to medical marijuana, patient advocates and dispensary owners pressed state regulators to have product available in Louisiana by May 15.

Doug Boudreaux, the licensed co-owner of Hope Pharmacy, a dispensary serving Northwest Louisiana, said he has 180 hospice patients waiting to be able to buy medical marijuana. His dispensary is located across the street from a cancer center, he said Monday (March 25).

“We are under terrible pressure to help our patients,” Boudreaux said.


Coffee shop serves up CBD-oil infused lattes

Revelator Coffee Company began serving CBD oil-infused lattes in all four of its Birmingham locations on Monday, and has sold dozens of the drinks in the first two days.

The coffee shop charges $1 to add three drops of CBD oil to a drink. It's featured in the Golden Latte with Relyf CBD oil.

Cannabidiol, or CBD oil, which some people use as a treatment for physical ailments, is made from industrial hemp, which contains a tiny percentage of THC, the intoxicating substance found in marijuana.

CBD oil can also be derived from marijuana and the Alabama Legislature has allowed limited exceptions to the law against marijuana possession for the use of CBD oil.


Louisiana may have medical cannabis available by summer 2019

In September 2017, research and biotechnical development company GB Sciences announced its partnership with the Louisiana State University Agriculture Center to produce medical cannabis. Last week, LSU’s Vice President of Agriculture Dr. Richardson said the university and GB Sciences were on track to submitting their final suitability study to state police by Jan. 21. If the crop clears all of its requirements for quality and safety, medical cannabis products could be available in Louisiana dispensaries this summer.


What to know about Louisiana's medical marijuana program heading into 2019

Slowly, Louisiana's medical marijuana program is  gaining some traction toward getting products to patients. 

LSU AgCenter harvested its first crop of marijuana in October. And after more than a year of delays, Southern University's medical marijuana program is now under a new operator that says it will start the build out of a new facility starting early next year and could have crop available by the second quarter of 2019. 

This is a look at where Louisiana's program stands now and what to expect going into 2019.


Louisiana regulators remove 100-patient limit for physicians

More Louisiana residents should have easier access to medical marijuana after state regulators got rid of the rule on Monday that limited the number of patients to which physicians can recommend cannabis.

The Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners (LSBME) met Monday to discuss changing rules that currently restrict patient access to medical cannabis, including the cap previously in place that restricted physicians from recommending marijuana to more than 100 of their patients. Dr. Victor Chou, one of the first physicians to receive a license to recommend cannabis in Louisiana told the board that he reached that limit in only two weeks after opening his clinic in Baton Rouge.

“I have a waiting list of 700 patients,” Chou said.


Louisiana's medical marijuana crop halted by state regulations

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

The marijuana grower for the LSU AgCenter, GB Sciences, had planned to release product to Louisiana's 9 licensed medical marijuana pharmacies by September. However, the company now says the earliest harvest will likely be in November.

GB Sciences say they're waiting for the state agriculture department, who will regulate the medical marijuana industry in Louisiana, to sign off on their plans.

Louisiana's Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain says he's not the reason that the process is stalled. He says GB Sciences has to finish its operating procedures and its background checks with the state police.


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.


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