While many state legislatures have adjourned due to the coronavirus, the Louisiana State Legislature is back in action — with social distancing precautions — and is considering a series of bills to expand the state’s medical cannabis program.
On Wednesday, the House Health and Welfare Committee unanimously advanced bills sponsored by Rep. Larry Bagley (R) that would allow physicians to recommend medical cannabis for any debilitating condition (HB 819) and allow regulated home delivery permanently (HB 792). Next Wednesday, the committee is scheduled to consider several other reforms, including removing the prohibition on raw cannabis (Rep. Ted James’ HB 385).
Louisiana is one of only two medical cannabis states that continue to ban cannabis in its natural, plant form. Because extracts are far more expensive to produce, this drives up costs and results in a program that is out of reach to most of the state’s residents.
Never doubt the impact constituent feedback can have on medical cannabis policy. The two bills that advanced out of committee are sponsored by a lawmaker who evolved from an opponent to a champion after hearing from constituents.
Rep. Bagley told Marijuana Moment he’d voted against previous medical cannabis bills. “But now, constituents in my area, they come to me and they ask me for help because they’re having pain, they can’t find things to cure the pain. …Now their personal physician can write them a script for [cannabis] and they can get it. Who knows you better than your personal physician? I thought it made perfect sense,” said Bagley.
After you write your lawmakers, please spread the word to other compassionate Louisianans, so that they, too, can raise their voices.