Louisiana: Senate Passes Amended Bill Permitting Doctors to Recommend Medical Cannabis for “Any Condition”

Senators on Wednesday passed legislation to significantly expand the pool of patients eligible to qualify for medical cannabis access.

Members voted 28 to 6 in favor of an amended version of House Bill 819, which expands the discretion of physicians so that they can recommend cannabis therapy for “any condition” that he or she “considers debilitating to an individual patient and is qualified through his [or her] medical education and training to treat.” Under the current law, doctors may only recommend medical cannabis products to those patients with a limited number of select conditions, such as HIV and cancer.

A handful of states, such as California, Maine, and Virginia, have enacted similar measures providing physicians with the ability to recommend medical cannabis preparations to any patient who they believe may benefit from them.

Members of the House previously passed the measure by a vote of 77 to 15. As amended by the Senate, state-licensed dispensaries will be mandated to “comply with the reporting requirements of the [state’s] prescription monitoring program.”

House Bill 819 is scheduled for a concurrence vote on Friday.

Other bills before the Senate include HB 792, which establishes regulations permitting the home delivery of medical cannabis products to registered patients, and HB 418, which provides immunity from prosecution to “any facility that is licensed by the Louisiana Department of Health that has patients in its care using medical marijuana.”

The state’s legislative session concludes at 6pm on Monday, June 1, 2020.