After a smashing success with SMPL’s 2018 Lobby Day, the organization is now shepherding several important reform bills through the legislature. From multiple medical marijuana (mmj) or therapeutic Cannabis bills to a statewide decriminalization effort, the organization is pushing many long overdue reforms. We are able to do this, of course, in large part because of the help that the organization gets from its many members and allies. Together, these citizens and citizen’s groups have helped Representative Ted James, D-Baton Rouge, pass his omnibus mmj reform bill (HB 579) out of the House Health and Welfare Committee (8-4). This essential bill, in its current form, adds chronic pain, PTSD and restores glaucoma as qualifying conditions or “disease states” to the Alison Neustrom Act, but it would also provide physicians with the option to discuss inhalation as a delivery method for Cannabis-based medicines in cases where patients might respond better to that option. Most of the 30 states + D.C. that have a functioning mmj program allow inhalation which is deemed essential for certain patients like those suffering from break-through pain or seizures who cannot wait the 45-60 minutes it sometimes takes for orally ingested medicine to take effect. Through inhalation, which does not include smoking under any circumstance, the patient is able to inhale vapors via an atomizer, inhaler or vaporizer that can transport the medicine to his or her lungs and into the bloodstream almost immediately or within just a few minutes. That critical bill which is considered indispensable to a properly functioning mmj system and without which Louisiana is not even counted among the 30 legal mmj states by national reform groups, is presently scheduled to be considered by the full House tomorrow (April 12).
In addition to that bill, SMPL has authored other essential reforms like the Sunset Bill and the THC Cap Removal Bill as well as the statewide Decriminalization bill. Among these, only the Sunset Bill has been considered in committee where today, it passed unanimously out of the same House Health and Welfare Committee that previously passed James’ HB 579. Watch this bill too and call, write or email your elected officials to show your support as HB 823 will remove the “Sunset” provision or deadline for the entire statewide program beyond which the law would need to be reauthorized by the entire legislature in order to survive. Presently, the program expires in 2020 unless reauthorized by both chambers. HB 823 makes mmj in LA permanent under state law. Tune in, sign up and help out!
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