For twenty three years, medical marijuana has been legal in the Bayou State, but a vague bill makes it illegal to fill prescriptions. But this legislative session could soon change that.
Both the house and senate have pending legislation. Examples include senate bill 323 which reduces criminal penalties for marijuana possession. And then there's house bill 720 which authorizes the use of medical marijuana.
Back in 1991 Act 874 was passed. That allowed a physician to prescribe medical marijuana. But the act failed to provide any details on how to legally dispense, prescribe and distribute the drug.
That's where bill 720 comes into play. Author of the bill and district 63 State Representative Dalton Honoré says his bill provides teeth to Act 874 and gives those who need the drug a legal way to do so.
According to Representative Honoré the bill as its written gives a mechanism of who is in charge of cultivating the medical marijuana along with how many people would make a board to authorize purchases. Honoré goes on to say the only doctors allowed to prescribe medical marijuana would be ophthalmologist, oncologist and neurologist.
There would also be restrictions on how many dispensaries could be opened within an area. This bill is one of many this legislative session that are geared toward marijuana. A topic budding with controversy but a trend many elected officials are willing to tackle.
Honoré says the masses of people in this state have spoken through polls, several polls and they are in favor of medical marijuana. When asked if he would entertain the idea of recreational marijuana Honoré said he would at a later date.
The 2014 legislative session begins March 10.