Good news! Last week, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill (HB 819) that will allow doctors to recommend medical cannabis for any medical condition the physician “considers debilitating to an individual patient” that the physician is qualified to treat. Currently, patients can only receive a recommendation for cannabis if they have a medical condition that is specifically listed.
HB 819 also adds several qualifying conditions, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, traumatic brain injury, and chronic pain associated with sickle cell anemia or fibromyalgia.
Gov. Edwards also signed a bill to protect banks serving medical cannabis businesses from state penalties (HB 211) and one to protect physicians and medical facilities involved in medical cannabis (HB 418).
All three take effect on August 1.
HB 819 was sponsored by Rep. Larry Bagley (R). Bagley had been opposed to medical cannabis until he heard from constituents who found it relieved their pain. Now, he has become a champion.
His turnaround shows the dramatic impact constituent stories can have on their lawmakers. Considering reaching out to your state legislators about other marijuana policy reforms you care about.
If you’re a medical cannabis patient who has had problems with the program — perhaps due to the limited number of medical cannabis pharmacies or the lack of access to raw, flower cannabis — you may want to let your state senator and representative know.
Thanks for your support and compassion!