Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed multiple marijuana reform measures into law.
Among them, House Bill 629 bars police from conducting a warrantless search of person’s place of residence based solely upon the odor of cannabis. Several other states that have either legalized or decriminalized the use of marijuana by adults have enacted similar prohibitions on police conduct.
Another bill signed into law, HB 988, protects qualified patients from discrimination in the workplace. It mandates, “No state employer shall subject an employee or prospective employee to negative employment consequences based solely on a positive drug test for marijuana” if they are a state-registered medical cannabis patient. Twenty-one states and Washington, DC have similarly made it illegal for an employer to not hire or to discriminate against either a job applicant or employee who uses medical marijuana, under certain conditions.
Nearly 30,000 Louisiana residents are registered to participate in the state’s medical cannabis access program.
A third bill, House Bill 775, legalizes any marijuana-related paraphernalia that is “solely used or intended for use for the inhalation of raw or crude marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinols, or a chemical derivative of tetrahydrocannabinols when the person is a patient of a state-sponsored medical marijuana program.” A fourth bill, HB 137, provides immunity from criminal prosecution to out-of-state medical cannabis patients. (Similar legislation, HB 135, was also signed into law.) Finally, a fifth bill, HB 190, expands the poll of health professional who can issue medical cannabis authorizations to include certain nurse practitioners.
The new laws go into effect on August 1, 2022.
NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano praised lawmakers for advancing and enacting the measures. “These are common sense reforms provide further and sorely needed protections and freedoms for patients and others,” he said. “Lawmakers are to be commended for putting politics aside and taking these important steps forward.”