Louisiana considering bill to authorize dispensing medical marijuana to out of state patients

Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 11:10 PM CDT
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Baton Rouge, LA (KPLC) - At the Capitol, several bills regarding medical marijuana were discussed by the Louisiana House of Representatives’ Health and Welfare Committee.

One of the bills would allow some out-of-state residents to be able to get medical marijuana in Louisiana.

“If I was a diabetic patient and I needed insulin, I could go to a Walgreens no matter which state I was in. If this is treated as medication, then let’s treat it as medication and not restrict patients from having access to their medication just because they’re not a citizen of Louisiana,” Valerie Fuller, an advocate who argued in favor, said.

Arguments were heard in favor of Rep. Joseph Marino of Jefferson Parish’s medical marijuana bills at the committee meeting Tuesday, April 19.

“We’re trying to make sure that the people this legitimately helps can have access to it,” Marino said.

Marino’s House Bill 135 would allow non-Louisiana residents access to medical marijuana in Louisiana.

“What we’re doing today and what this bill would do would be able to eliminate the need for an out-of-state patient who’s already registered in a different jurisdiction to see a physician in Louisiana,” Peter Prevot said.

Prevot is the executive director for the Louisiana Association for Therapeutic Alternatives and works closely with medical marijuana pharmacies in the state. He was at the committee meeting and said this legislation is a forward progression for patient benefit.

“They could dispense the medical marijuana to the patient directly and then they would be allowed to have it and possess it legally in our state,” Marino said.

Marino’s companion bill, HB 137, works to tackle the legal aspect for “visiting qualifying patients” who aren’t registered in Louisiana’s medical marijuana program.

“A lot of people come into Louisiana,” Marino said. “And we don’t want to be prosecuting people for possessing their marijuana that’s for medicinal purposes because they didn’t originally participate in our program.”

Prevot adds there are still some operational things that will need to be worked out if these bills do get passed.

“We’ll have to dive through all that but this legislation is a good starting point to start having those conversations and figuring out where we need to go,” Prevot said.

Both Marino’s bills will be moving forward after Tuesday’s committee session and are headed to the House Floor early next week.

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