Multiple marijuana laws go into effect in Louisiana

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 7:29 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - More than 700 bills passed during this year’s legislative session and many of them go into effect today, including several involving marijuana.

Some of the new marijuana measures are dealing with reform, but a handful coincide with medical use of the drug.

“Everything that we’re seeing today really brings us more in line with other states and really allows us to start utilizing and integrating it more with mainstream medicine as opposed to it being some sort of fringe treatment option,” Peter Prevot with the Marijuana Pharmacy Association said.

Prevot explained one new law opens the door for more patients to have access, allowing a nurse practitioner to prescribe marijuana as medical treatment.

“Especially in rural areas where physicians are very limited right now,” Prevot said. “I mean that’s going to be huge for folks that maybe couldn’t get to see a marijuana specific doctor before.”

Another law allows out of state patients to use their prescription here.

“That means they can use their recommendation or their documentation from their home state to buy from our pharmacies here,” Prevot said.

“The industry is getting so strong and there’s so many people who have a prescription and the fact is, it’s a prescription medication now and we have to start treating it like that,” Rep. Mandie Landry said.

Landry authored the new law that provides protection for state employees:

“Having a marijuana prescription or testing positive is not enough to get them fired or not hired,” Landry said. “As long as they have a prescription, there has to be more of a reason.”

However, there are some exceptions, the law does not protect those who are impaired while on the job.

“You have to take the prescribed amount, one. and two, you can’t be high on it at work either especially if you have a sensitive position,” Landry said.

There are some state positions the law doesn’t include like law enforcement, firefighters, or other state workers that operate a vehicle for their job.

Landry said she hopes this law can eventually be expanded beyond state employees providing more protection for patients in the work place.

Other marijuana related laws going into effect include:

Act No. 473 - Preventing law enforcement to use the “smell” of marijuana as probable cause for a search warrant.

Act No. 478 - Prohibiting smoking marijuana in vehicles.

Act No. 491 & Act No. 492 - Changing the department who regulates it from the Department of Agriculture and Forestry to the Department of Health.

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