WednesdayÂ afternoon, the Louisiana House Health and Welfare Committee approved a bill that is intended to stop the cruel criminalization of seriously ill patients who benefit from medical marijuana. The bill, which has already passed the Senate with a 22-13 vote, now moves to the full House for a vote. If you are a Louisiana resident,Â please take a moment today to write your representative in support of this compassionate bill âÂ SB 143.
SB 143, filed by Sen. Fred Mills, Jr. (R), would amend a 1991 law that allows Louisianaâs physicians to prescribe medical marijuana in accordance with FDA and DEA guidelines. Since these guidelines donât exist, this law has never been operable. Sen. Millsâ proposal requires the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy to develop regulations governing distribution of medical marijuana.
Fortunately, the Health and Welfare Committee replaced the requirement that physicians âprescribeâ medical marijuana with one stating that they ârecommendâ its use. This change was necessary as no physician â even in medical marijuana states â can âprescribeâ medical marijuana because of federal law. While this is an important improvement, we are still concerned that the proposed program relies on pharmacies to dispense medical marijuana, which they are very unlikely to do because they are regulated by the DEA and distributing marijuana is a federal crime.
The Associated PressÂ reports that Gov. Bobby Jindal has “no concerns” aboutÂ the bill.