Yesterday, Governor John Bel Edwards made history by signing SB 271, which makes Louisiana the 25th state with a medical marijuana program, and by some accounts, the first state in the Deep South to do so.
According to SouthernCannabis.org, the new law will expand the conditions treatable by cannabis oil to the following (while removing glaucoma from the list):
- Spastic quadriplegia
- Symptoms from chemotherapy
- Cachexia (wasting syndrome)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Seizure disorders
- Severe spasms
And yes, I said oil. Despite the scare tactics used by enemies of cannabis in other states (“Hash oil is too strong for mere mortals!”), Louisiana’s only legal form of medical marijuana is oil at present.
While the Louisiana legislature should be applauded for stepping up to help sick and dying patients, those same patients won’t be properly protected from overzealous law enforcement by SB 271. Another bill, SB 180, is currently in process through the House.
David Brown, the president of Sensible Marijuana Policy for Louisiana, said “SB 271 brings us closer to providing relief to the suffering of our most vulnerable residents. We hope that they will continue that work by approving SB 180 to ensure that medical marijuana patients and providers are protected from criminal sanctions. Patients shouldn’t be treated like criminals for using the medicine that works best for them.”