Patients enrolled in the medical marijuana program of Louisiana would soon be able to use cannabis inhalers as the State Legislature, on Wednesday, voted 82-0 in favor of the Medical Marijuana Inhalation Bill that permits the use of metered-dose inhalers. However, the bill doesn’t legalize smokable forms of cannabis.
Presently, patients can consume medical marijuana via 4 methods, viz. pills, oils, liquids and topical preparations, though no marijuana products have gone on sale yet.
In case you weren’t aware, Louisiana had legalized medical marijuana back in 2015; however, ‘eternal’ regulatory issues have delayed the rollout of the program, over and over again.
On Saturday, the future of the medical marijuana inhalation bill didn’t look bright as the state Senate had shelved the measure owing to concerns from Republican Sen. Dan Claitor (and others) over adding new delivery methods to the program. Though on Monday, the bill was revived again courtesy of Republican Sen. Fred Mills (also a pharmacist) who amended it to include only metered-dose inhalers.
“If someone has a debilitating disease and this quick-acting meter dose inhalation will provide someone quicker relief, who are we to stop that?” Mills was quoted as saying to his colleagues in the Senate.
The Senate then voted 31-7 in favor of the measure and prompted Wednesday’s House vote. The Bill now awaits the signatures of Governor John Bel Edwards before being signed into law.
“It is a positive step in getting Louisiana a recognized therapeutic marijuana program,” said Kevin Caldwell, the head of CommonSense NOLA, cannabis policy reform group.
When will marijuana be available in Louisiana dispensaries?
The officials say that medical marijuana will be available in dispensaries by this summer. The strains are currently being produced by the Louisiana State AgCenter and its growing partner GB Sciences.
Hampton Grunewald, associate vice president for governmental relations at LSU, is pretty confident that the products will hit dispensaries by the end of May.