Medical marijuana in Louisiana: Who will get access?

Emily Lane, | The Times-Picayune By Emily Lane, | The Times-Picayune 
on June 30, 2015 at 3:13 PM, updated July 01, 2015 at 12:44 PM

The “i” in Gov. Bobby Jindal‘s signature has been dotted, and Louisiana now has a law in place that allows for the legal growth, prescription and dispensing of medical marijuana.

The move makes Louisiana the first state in Deep South with legal access to medical marijuana, though it’s likely to take more than two years for the product to become available to patients who qualify. The restrictive law also says it will only be available in a non-smokable form, like oils.

But when the product is grown, processed and ready for dispensing, what kind of patients can get access?

As the law is currently written, only people with one of three disease states qualify for a prescription:

• Those undergoing chemotherapy for treatment of cancer
• Those with glaucoma
• Those with spastic quadriplegia, a rare form of cerebral palsy that causes chronic muscle stiffness

However, the number of disease states could expand during next year’s legislative session. The current law directs the Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners, the state organization that oversees doctors, to submit recommendations to the legislature for other diseases or conditions that should qualify under the law. The board’s deadline for the recommendations is 60 days before the next legislative session.

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