Louisiana lawmakers took one step closer towards making legal medical marijuana a reality by voting in favor of a new senate bill.
According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Louisiana Legislature voted on Monday for Senate Bill 143, which would allow state residents with a prescription to obtain medical marijuana in a smokeless form at one of 10 dispensaries throughout the state. It would also restrict medical use to patients with glaucoma, spastic quadriplegia, or those undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment.
The bill was passed by a vote of 22-13
“Vote yes for patients for whom this really would be a last-ditch effort,” said state Republican Senator Fred Mills, who sponsored the new bill.
The Louisiana Legislature had already legalized marijuana for medical purposes in 1978, and once again in 1991, but there was no language that allowed for legal dispensing of pot. Doctors can legally prescribe medical cannabis and patients can legally use it, but there is no form of safe, legal access to it in the state. S.B. 143 would give authority to state boards to regulate a cultivation and dispensary system.
“I think we have found the sweet spot between patient care and also law enforcement,” Mills said. “If we don’t do this, it could be the wild, wild West.”
The legislation now moves to the house for consideration.