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Doctors can recommend marijuana to treat any illness under new La. law

Published: Jun. 16, 2020 at 5:39 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Thousands of Louisianans will gain access to the state’s medical-marijuana program under a significant expansion Governor John Bel Edwards signed into law the second week of June.

Beginning in August, any Louisiana doctors in good standing with the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners can recommend marijuana to treat any condition they consider debilitating. Under previous law, only licensed marijuana specialists could recommend the drug to treat one of 16 serious health conditions on a set list approved by the legislature.

Medical marijuana has been available in Louisiana since August of 2019. The expansion bill’s author, stonewall Republican Health and Welfare Chairman Rep. Larry Bagley pushed the plan as a way to ensure patients can consult doctors they already know to determine whether marijuana is right for them.

“Who would you trust? A doctor you were sent to or your own doctor you know by first name?” asked Bagley. “Now, if a doctor thinks [marijuana] is what you need, you can get it."

Patients will still have to pick their medicine up from one of nine licensed marijuana pharmacies across the state. Each doctor who recommends the drug will have to comply with state reporting requirements that are meant to aid LSU and Southern University in their research of health outcomes.

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