The Louisiana House of Representatives voted unanimously 82-0 on June 5 to allow medical cannabis patients to inhale cannabis, with devices like inhalers, but fell short of allowing smokable cannabis. The bill now heads to governor’s desk for final approval. Louisiana’s medical cannabis community has seen its ups and downs over the past several years, with slow and steady progress towards accessibility.
House Bill 358 is a bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. Edward Ted James and Rep. Clay Schexnayder. The bill first stalled in the Senate because some lawmakers sought to expand the number of licenses, but the bill was back on track with the inclusion of a “metered-dose inhaler” in the definition of acceptable devices.
Current law allows patients to consume medical cannabis in the form of edibles, oils and extracts. In order to be eligible to receive medical cannabis, qualified patients must have “debilitating medical conditions,” including cancer, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, intractable pain or HIV.
Sadly no medical cannabis has been delivered to patients yet due to a so-called “feud” between Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike G. Strain, and the Louisiana State University AgCenter over a dispute about growing methods. Medical cannabis, however, is expected to be available later this year.
Cannabis inhalers are quickly becoming the “next big thing” in the world of cannabis, and precision dosing products, some with celebrity endorsements, are popping up everywhere.
Meanwhile, on June 3, House lawmakers unanimously supported a bill to legalize industrial hemp and allow the growth and sale of certain cannabidiol (CBD) products in Louisiana. Louisiana is poised to become yet another medical cannabis and hemp hub if things continue to move down the same path.