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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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.
It was one of two medical marijuana medicals aimed at expanding the
patient base in Louisiana that passed through the Senate Health and
Welfare committee. The other bill (HB 579) authored by Rep. Ted James,
D-Baton Rouge, adds glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic
pain and Parkinson's Disease to the roster of conditions already
approved for treatment with medical marijuana. Both bills will head to
the Senate for a full vote.
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Louisiana's nine future medical marijuana dispensaries have been
selected. The two grow sites, managed by LSU and Southern University,
are preparing to start growing and processing the drug by next
February at the latest.
Legislators have been focused on the issue, too. Two bills are making
their way through the Legislature that would potentially expand the
number of medical marijuana patients.
But after all these preparations are made, will there be doctors for
medical marijuana patients to go to?
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A car ride anywhere with Denise Young's 16-year-old son Seth can be
Seth was diagnosed as a young child as having low-functioning autism,
a severe form of the disorder that makes him hypersensitive to sound
and light and which can trigger tantrum-like meltdowns.
"They call it a rage," Young said. "He has thrown punches in the back
of my seat, the back of my head (while driving)."
Medication hasn't worked, according to Young. One prescription only
made Seth's rages worse, she said. Another one caused excessive thirst
and hormonal imbalances.
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A Louisiana House committee voted Thursday (April 5) in favor of a
proposal to expand the use of medical marijuana to treat people with
chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder and glaucoma. The bill
cleared committee with an 8-4 vote.
HB 579, sponsored by Rep. Edward James, D-Baton Rouge, met some debate
before the vote. Opponents questioned whether there was enough medical
research establishing medical marijuana as an effective treatment for
people with chronic medical conditions.
A 2016 law allowed the use of medical marijuana to treat certain
conditions, including HIV/AIDS, Crohn's disease, muscular dystrophy
and epilepsy. James' bill would add glaucoma, severe muscle spasms,
intractable pain and PTSD to the list.
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A Metairie business could obtain permission Tuesday to operate one of
the state's first medical marijuana pharmacies. The Louisiana Pharmacy
Board is meeting in Baton Rouge for two days to discuss, and possibly
give final approval, to companies seeking to obtain one of the state's
According to the board's agenda, 44 applicants have applied for
permits, although some of those companies have withdrawn from
The Rx Greenhouse announced in February its plans to open an office
building at 3131 North Causeway Boulevard in Metairie after gaining
preliminary approval from a state subcommittee. If approved it would
open by September, the pharmacy owners have said.
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People arrested and held on simple marijuana possession became nearly
non-existent in New Orleans in the year since the City Council passed
an ordinance that allowed police to issue summons instead of using a
City Councilwoman Susan Guidry shared data on Tuesday (March 27)
showing that just 1 percent of encounters between police and someone
accused of possessing marijuana resulted in an arrest between June
2016 and May 2017. A year before, 15 percent of people were arrested
for simple possession.
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The Rx Greenhouse, one of the state's first marijuana pharmacy is
looking to open in Metairie. This rendering is a picture of the
pharmacy's waiting area.
One of the state's first marijuana pharmacies is looking to open in
Metairie nearly two years after Louisiana lawmakers authorized the use
of medical marijuana for certain conditions.
The Rx Greenhouse last month got preliminary approval from the state
Pharmacy Board and plans to be operational by Sept. 1, according to
CEO Dr. Sajal Roy, who is also a pharmacist.
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