Last June, Governor John Bel Edwards approved House Bill 391. Starting from January 2022, state-registered patients can now buy smokable medical marijuana flowers.
Previously the state laws only allowed them to use non-inhalable variations of cannabis like infused oils.
Patients can buy up to two and a half ounces of the flower every 14 days and only from licensed providers.
Becoming More Open to Cannabis
Louisiana was one of the few states that barred patients from accessing flowers. Their actions followed Minnesota’s change of heart. Minnesota also began providing patients with access.
While this bodes well for many patients in the area, people see this as a step towards further legalization.
At around the same time, Governor Edwards also removed jail time for low-level marijuana possession.
Before these changes, Louisiana was one of the strictest places in the US for enforcing crime. The incarceration capital has been easing many of its laws in recent years.
The change was a collective effort of politicians and several advocacy groups.
Among them included Common Sense NOLA and Sensible Marijuana Policy for Louisiana. Both groups have been adamant about decriminalization efforts and law reform in the state.
Before approving this law, previous legislation in 2019 only allowed the use of a metered-dose inhaler.
Supporters of the law argued that smokable marijuana didn’t have many risks. It also provided benefits similar to other forms without being expensive.
A Change in Perspective
The last five years have been pivotal for the change in perspective for legalization. The increase in favor towards it is due to the shift in the working population.
Most millennials are at the forefront of approving the legalization of marijuana.
This movement also inspired older generations to act. It has been so significant that a majority of detractors converted to becoming supporters.
Even though many states have allowed the use of marijuana both on a medical and recreational level, it’s still a crime federally. The government classifies marijuana the same as heroin.
Because of the changes, more politicians are moving forward with a decriminalization act. Acts to legalize marijuana have been in conversation for many years now.
The most recent is the proposed legislation from Senate Majority Leader Schumer. One of the ways the government could embrace marijuana is by decriminalizing and regulating it.
This means that they could tax marijuana businesses. They would also be free to work with other institutions like banks. However, few are comfortable with the sudden change in marijuana’s treatment.
According to supporters, marijuana has also been a way to discriminate against immigrants and people of color.
Approving it would allow some immigrants to pursue citizenship. The bill would remove criminal records related to marijuana. However, other criminal charges may still apply depending on the situation.
Change at a federal level may take some time, but the fact that it’s being pushed at the senate level means something.
The bill has already gained approval from the House and will undergo rigorous testing with the Senate.
The bill was under discussion as far back as 2019, but it suffered many delays because of world events. The government had to shift its focus to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Legalizing smokable marijuana is good for Louisiana as it allows people to choose. Some edible forms of medical marijuana and oils have proven to be more potent than expected.
Even then, the fact remains that medical marijuana provides so many uses that it would be foolish to ignore them.
When federal legalization may occur remains a mystery. It may take months or even years. Even then, many businesses and people are already preparing for a future with it.
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Our licensed doctors share the conviction in the use of cannabis to assist their patients to ensure happier, healthier, and more productive lives. Contact us for more information.