Louisiana House Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

Louisiana House Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

Katie Corkern at center with son Connor, with state Rep. Helena Moreno and Sen. Fred Mills. (Times Picayune)

The Louisiana House of Representatives has passed a bill legalizing the use of medical marijuana for certain health issues. The bill, which passed by the surprisingly wide margin of 61-32, will now head to the Senate for debate and vote.

While this legislation would not include any smoking or growing of the marijuana plant for patients, it would allow sick patients access to CBD oil.

Katie Corkern, whose son Connor suffers from epilepsy (one of the conditions that would be allowed treatment), aided the charge for this legislation, and it was no easy fight.

“The wait was excruciating, but so worth it,” she told The Times-Picayune. “I woke up this morning and was thinking, it’s not going to pass because I’ve been doing so much research. There were people who I thought were definitely going to vote for it who changed their minds.”

While the bill itself was headed by Republican state Sen. Fred Mills, many of the old, conservative, Southern ways are still prevalent in Louisiana government. For instance, state Rep. Sherman Mack (R) proposed amending the bill to make mere possession of marijuana a felony.

“Let’s make sure it’s going to the intended purpose, which is to help sick kids,” Mack said.

In response, Rep. Tanner Magee (R) said, “Haven’t we led to the highest incarceration rate in the word? You are only adding to a failed strategy.”

Luckily for Louisianans (and just logical people everywhere), Mack’s proposal was voted down 32-62 — a disturbingly high margin, if you ask me, that shows just how ignorant some Americans still can be about marijuana.

The main argument against the bill was that legalization of CBD oil for very sick children and adults would ultimately lead to recreational legalization. However, Rep. Terry Landry reassured representatives that a recent poll showed 72% of Louisianans were in support of medical marijuana legalization.

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

While I sincerely think the entire nation will eventually have legal marijuana, medical and recreational, what’s most important now is getting medicine to those in need, suffering aimlessly due to politicians’ ingrained, hard-headed ignorance. Though, many are starting to wake up.

State Rep. Mike Huval (R) testified that if his brother David had had acess to medical marijuana, “the pain he endured hopefully would’ve been taken care of by this miracle medication.”

“Before you vote today,” he said, “will this miracle drug maybe be needed by someone you love? Please consider that.”

If the bill also passes the Senate, it could still be between 18 months and two years before patients have access to medicine. Ah, politics.