A Simple Guide to Getting Louisiana Medical Marijuana
37 states in the US have legalized medical marijuana for patients in need. This equates to about 3.6 million medical marijuana patients legally using medical cannabis to help them feel better.
Louisiana is one of the states allowing patients to seek a medical marijuana card. In Louisiana, less than 5,000 patients took advantage of medical marijuana.
While that equates to less than 1% of the Louisiana population, that number is growing consistently as more dispensary locations are opening, making it easier for patients to get the marijuana they need.
Are you wondering how to get a medical marijuana card in Louisiana? What steps are required to get a Louisiana medical marijuana card?
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about getting a medical marijuana card in Louisiana.
Louisiana Medical Marijuana Laws
Louisiana has a longer history with medical marijuana than many other states in the US. The state first approved the use of medical marijuana back in 1991.
However, legislative language, along with federal laws, made it difficult for doctors to get medical marijuana into the hands of patients.
Recently, big changes have occurred in Louisiana, making it much easier for a patient who needs medical marijuana to get it. In August 2022, Act 491 and Act 492 were passed in the Louisiana legislature.
Now, the Louisiana Department of Health is in charge of regulating the use of medical marijuana in the state.
The state currently has two licensed medical marijuana manufacturers: the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center and the Southern University Agricultural Center.
The Louisiana Department of Health will be tasked with the responsibility of conducting inspections of medical marijuana production facilities. They will also test batches of the cannabis to ensure its purity and to see that it doesn’t exceed the THC-content levels allowed by law.
Once tested, the product can be legally transported to one of the current ten dispensaries in the state.
Louisiana Medical Marijuana Card
A medical marijuana certificate in Louisiana allows patients with certain medical conditions to have different marijuana products to help treat their conditions legally.
A person holding a medical marijuana card in Louisiana can have up to a 30-day supply of marijuana products. How much marijuana product that is for 30 days depends on what the doctor prescribes when the patient gets approval.
Patients can use a variety of different marijuana products, including:
With the recent changes to Louisiana law, a patient can also have two and a half ounces of medical cannabis flower per 14-day period, which must be sought from an approved dispensary.
While the options for medical marijuana are expanding, the laws remain strict in Louisiana. If a patient is found to have more than their allowed 30-day supply, they face up to six months in prison and a fine of $500 for a first offense.
Eligibility for Medical Marijuana
As the laws have changed in Louisiana, making it easier for patients to get medical marijuana, the legislature put some basic requirements for patients to be eligible for the medical marijuana certificate.
Before you can apply for the medical marijuana certificate, you must first meet the basic eligibility requirements. These include:
- A resident of the State of Louisiana
- At least 18 years of age
- Get a diagnosis from a licensed Louisiana physician
- Have a medical condition that medical cannabis would help
If a patient is under 18, they can still qualify as a primary caregiver. Caregivers must register with the state, and a minor must be the minor’s parent or legal guardian.
How to Qualify for a Marijuana Card in Louisiana
One of the basic eligibility requirements for Louisiana marijuana is to have a medical condition that a physician thinks medical marijuana would help.
Louisiana, unlike some other states, allows the doctor to decide if your medical condition would benefit. The medical condition doesn’t have to be found on a preset list published by the state.
Having said that, Louisiana says these are conditions that would likely benefit from the use of medical cannabis. The list includes:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig disease)
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Chronic pain
- Crohn’s disease
- Hospice or palliative care
- Huntington’s disease
- Intractable pain
- Lewy-body dementia
- Motor-neuron disease
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Muscular dystrophy
- Non-Epileptic seizures
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Seizure disorders
- Severe muscle spasm
- Spinal muscular atrophy
- Traumatic brain injury
If a physician is treating a patient with a medical condition that’s not listed and feels the patient would benefit from medical marijuana, they can still prescribe it.
Autism spectrum disorder in a minor will need a pediatric sub-specialist to recommend their medical cannabis certification.
Process for Approval for Medical Marijuana in Louisiana
Once you meet the basic eligibility requirements put in place by the Louisiana Department of Health and the legislature, then you must work through the application process. It is a relatively simple process to get a marijuana license.
Let’s take a closer look.
Step one in getting a medical marijuana certificate involves a doctor. So, first, you should set up an appointment with a doctor.
It’s important to know that your doctor must be registered with the Louisiana state board to give you approval.
Your doctor should talk with you about your medical condition and the symptoms you’re facing. Your doctor will need to see any necessary medical records.
Your doctor will consider your medical condition and whether it’s a qualifying condition, then make their recommendation. Once the doctor makes the recommendation, they will send it to a certified dispensary.
The patient then needs to get certified by the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy.
Only patients with certification can buy from a dispensary. Likewise, patients can only legally purchase from state-certified dispensaries.
When the patient visits the certified pharmacy, they must bring with them the completed physician-written certification. The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy will verify your identity and residency with the documents you bring. More on this shortly.
The state runs a prescription monitoring program that is accessible by any approved dispensary.
Once you have the medical marijuana card, the patient can get up to a 30-day supply of products or a 14-day supply of marijuana flower. All amounts purchased are recorded in the prescription monitoring program.
The final step is to wait for approval from the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy. It’s worth noting that you won’t be sent an actual marijuana card. Instead, you’ll get approval and can print it.
All state-approved dispensaries can access this card. Once you have your medical marijuana certificate, you can visit state-approved dispensaries to purchase medical cannabis.
The dispensaries should be knowledgeable about their different products and offer a variety to meet every patient’s needs.
What Documents Are Needed to Apply?
To apply, you must first show your proof of residency. Remember, being a resident of Louisiana is one of the basic requirements.
Any of the following documents will work as identification. These include:
- Valid, unexpired driver’s license
- State-produced identification card
You will also need to prove residency. The state says that any of the following will work to show you’re a resident of the state including:
- Bank statement
- Utility bill
- Correspondence with a state department
You’ll need these documents and the signed certificate from a prescribing physician to apply to the state for the medical marijuana certificate.
Creating a Medical Marijuana Treatment Protocol
It’s important that you talk with your prescribing doctor about the best protocols for using medical marijuana. You may not know where to begin if you have no experience with cannabis products.
Be open to discussing your doctor’s questions and how to proceed with cannabis. You want to discuss:
- How cannabis can benefit your symptoms
- Potential side effects
- Best protocol to treat your symptoms
If your doctor doesn’t feel equipped or has specialized knowledge of cannabis products, then the dispensaries should be able to help you.
Where to Get Medical Marijuana in Louisiana
One of the challenges for some patients who get a medical marijuana certification will be getting to an approved dispensary. There are currently ten state-approved dispensaries around the State of Louisiana.
Remember, your medical marijuana card only legalizes marijuana purchase and use when it comes from authorized dispensaries.
You can locate the location of these ten dispensaries by visiting the State Board of Health website. Once you connect with some of the dispensaries, they will even do in-home deliveries to make it easier for you.
The medical marijuana card provides you with some important legal protection in the state. If you have medical marijuana products on you and are stopped by police, you can show them your card.
The medical marijuana card authorizes you to:
- Consume medical marijuana
It’s important to note you’re required to stick within the legal limits on quantity. It’s also illegal to share the product or sell it to another individual. The state would immediately revoke your medical marijuana privileges.
Medical Marijuana Privileges
One benefit of the medical marijuana card is that it gets you purchasing privileges in other states.
For example, the State of Arkansas offers reciprocity privileges. For a small fee and if you pre-register, you can purchase medical cannabis products from approved Arkansas dispensaries.
Many other states with medical marijuana products also offer reciprocal privileges for your medical marijuana card. Currently, the following states offer reciprocal privileges:
- Puerto Rico
- Washington DC
If you live in a place in the State of Louisiana that is further from a dispensary, you could go to another state nearby that offers reciprocal privileges if it’s closer.
Medical Marijuana in Louisiana: Frequently Asked Questions
You may still have questions about seeking a medical marijuana card in Louisiana. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers to those questions.
How Do I Find a Medical Marijuana Doctor?
You can see any doctor for a recommendation in Louisiana. They must, however, be registered with the Louisiana Department of Health.
How Long Does the Approval Process Take?
You will need to set up your appointment and see your doctor. Then the doctor submits the recommendation to the State Board.
Once they get the recommendation, most people say that you’ll hear back within a few weeks.
Will My Medical Details Be Confidential When I Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card?
Yes, your information should remain confidential. HIPAA regulations bind all state-approved pharmacies and dispensaries.
Can Qualified Patients Grow Their Own Cannabis?
No, a patient can’t grow their own cannabis, even with a medical marijuana card. Only state-licensed facilities are allowed to grow cannabis for medical use.
How Does a Caregiver Register in Louisiana?
Currently, the State of Louisiana doesn’t allow a caregiver to get approval for another adult certified for medical marijuana.
Yet, minors must have a parent or caregiver present when they meet with the doctor. The caregiver must be registered to purchase medical cannabis on behalf of the child.
How Much Does the Medical Marijuana Card Cost?
To be seen by a medical marijuana doctor costs around a few hundred dollars. Prices for medical cannabis products will vary based on the product and the amount.
Know About Louisiana Medical Marijuana
The approval of Louisiana medical marijuana means relief for many patients suffering from the effects of a medical condition. Seeking a medical marijuana card in Louisiana means they can legally seek cannabis products.
If you have more questions about medical marijuana in Louisiana or are looking for help with a medical marijuana card, contact us today.