It’s quite possible that Louisiana will be the next state to legalize medical marijuana and the first in the South. Louisiana’s Senate passed a recent bill that would allow a small number of dispensaries to open in the state. It will also allow a single grow site. Another Souther state, Florida, can close to legalizing weed for recreational use last year, but ultimately came up just short.
The bill now goes to the House for approval. If it passes the state’s Governor, Bobby Jindal says he’ll sign it as long as the marijuana market’s tightly regulated. This new legislation is being called a milestone, by the Marijuana Business Daily, who point out that Louisiana lawmakers shot down similar legislation last year. More from MBD:
Under the bill, 10 dispensaries would be allowed to open in Louisiana, and they could sell MMJ to patients with glaucoma, spastic quadriplegia and those undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, according to NOLA.com.
The state would be allowed to track sales, and lawmakers would have to revisit the law in five years.
The Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners and the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy would set rules on dispensaries, while the state’s Department of Agriculture would set rules on the grow site, NOLA.com reported.
The bill’s success so far, compared with the one last year that was shot down by a Senate committee, can be traced to collaboration with the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association, which has said the drug could possibly help patients. The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Fred Mills, is a pharmacist and said patients had spoken with him about the benefits of medical cannabis.
Milestone or not, this new hyper-restrictive legislation comes decades after the state actually legalized medical marijuana. Apparently lawmakers never set up a system for distributing it. Either way it’s a small step towards legalization—one that will allow a few to gain a lot of income. But hey, at least Louisiana legislators are moving the needle a li’l bit in the South. And that’s better than nothin’, right?