Louisiana Lawmakers Add Medical Conditions Eligible For Therapeutic Marijuana

By Melinda Deslatte

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana lawmakers are shifting to broaden the state’s medical hashish program, as marijuana nears availability inside months.

The House voted 60-39 Thursday so as to add extra circumstances to the record of illnesses and issues eligible for marijuana remedy. The proposal by East Baton Rouge Democratic Rep. Ted James would come with glaucoma, extreme muscle spasms, intractable ache, post-traumatic stress dysfunction and Parkinson’s illness on that record.

A separate measure by Jefferson Parish Democratic Rep. Rodney Lyons that gained earlier House passage would permit medicinal-grade hashish for autism spectrum dysfunction.

Both proposals await debate in Louisiana’s state Senate.

Supporters say medical hashish might assist veterans affected by PTSD and others with extreme circumstances, fairly than steering them to addictive opioids.

“We’ve got a lot of vets who don’t want to take drugs, the heavy drugs,” stated Rep. Kenny Cox, a Natchitoches Democrat and retired Army officer.

Opponents stated lawmakers ought to wait till the medical marijuana program begins earlier than increasing eligibility.

“I just wonder if we’re not jumping the gun,” stated Rep. Scott Simon, an Abita Springs Republican. “We’re heading that way and we’re heading that way fast. My only concern is that we’re swapping out one addictive drug for another.”

James stated marijuana is just not addictive. He stated Louisiana residents have described touring out of state or completely shifting elsewhere to get therapeutic hashish for remedy of medical circumstances.

“If we can prolong life and ease pain for one young person, one senior with this bill, I think we’re headed in the right direction,” James stated.

Louisiana’s medical hashish program is simply getting organized, with plans to have marijuana obtainable to sufferers by the summer time. Current state regulation, handed in 2015 underneath former Gov. Bobby Jindal and tweaked once more in 2016 underneath Gov. John Bel Edwards, permits use of medicinal hashish for individuals with most cancers, a extreme type of cerebral palsy, seizure issues, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy and different particular illnesses. Cannabis may be obtainable in medicinal oils, drugs, sprays and topical purposes, however can’t be bought in a smokable type.

Only the agricultural facilities at Louisiana State University and Southern University are allowed to develop medicinal-grade hashish, overseen by the state agriculture division. Both faculties have chosen distributors to run the rising operations and are working by means of their start-up.

A handful of docs have utilized for and acquired permission to dispense medical marijuana as soon as it’s out there. The Board of Pharmacy hasn’t but chosen the allotting pharmacies.

Forty-six states have legalized some type of medical marijuana, based on the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Also pending on the House flooring is a 3rd invoice coping with Louisiana’s program, by Houma Republican Rep. Tanner Magee, looking for to take away the January 2020 expiration date of the state’s medical hashish regulation.

Follow Melinda Deslatte on Twitter at twitter.com/melindadeslatte


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