The road to legalizing medical marijuana (MMJ) has been neither quick nor easy for patients in Louisiana. While SB 143 enacted the Alison Neustrom Act in 2015, setting the framework for the state’s current medical marijuana program, the bill only allowed physicians to prescribe MMJ following the DEA and FDA guidelines. As the DEA and FDA still hold marijuana as a schedule 1 controlled substance, there was little physicians could actually do. This changed when Governor John Bel Edwards signed SB 271 into law, allowing for a comprehensive medical marijuana program once the first pharmacy was to open in August 2019.
Today, any cannabis plant containing over .3% THC is prohibited for most in Louisiana; however, medical marijuana is available to those who have received a qualifying diagnosis. But, just as MMJ has crept its way into the medical field slowly in the Pelican state, patients won’t be receiving recommendations overnight. Walking into your primary care doctor’s office to request a legal supply of medical marijuana won’t get you far in your journey, either.
Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Louisiana
That’s why we at PurLife Louisiana have put together a comprehensive guide to assist you in accessing your MMJ card. To see if you qualify, determine if your diagnosis is listed as a required condition. Once you’ve gone through the necessary steps to get your MMJ card, finding your local medical marijuana dispensary to receive your prescription is the last step.
If you have already received your medical marijuana card, you may be wondering how to acquire your medication. Louisiana is now home to nine available “dispensaries” or pharmacies that are legally authorized to distribute medical-grade cannabis products. These pharmacies are located within nine regions of the state and are obligated to serve the patients who reside in these regions.
The following steps will help clarify the process of getting your medical marijuana card in Louisiana:
1. Find a Doctor
This first step may have been a challenge during the infancy of the state’s legalization; however, there are numerous physicians who are licensed to prescribe medical marijuana. If driving to a clinic or doctor’s office is a burden, patients can receive assistance online through a variety of online health centers like TeleMedCard or TeleLeafLouisiana. It’s important to note that a diagnosis is required before receiving your recommended prescription from a licensed physician. Following the application process, patients won’t receive a physical card but will be added to Louisiana’s Board of Pharmacy’s therapeutic marijuana registry along with your record of recommendation.
2. Visit a Licensed Pharmacy
Once your prescription or recommendation is registered in the database, you will be able to visit one of the nine medical marijuana “dispensaries” or pharmacies within each region. Unlike the passionate cannabis enthusiasts you’ll find in legal states, MMJ pharmacies in Louisiana are staffed with certified pharmacists and medically educated employees.
3. Pick up Prescription
Your recommendation will be established over a 12 month period; however, you’ll be asked to renew your MMJ supply every 30 days. One thing to keep in mind is that health insurance will not cover your medical marijuana prescription. On average, patients will spend $200+ depending on the products you require.
Which Conditions Qualify for Medical Marijuana Patients?
As of August 1, 2020, Governor John Bell Edwards signed into law HB 211 which both protects financial institutions working with cannabis companies and expands the qualifying conditions for medical patients. Up until 2020, if you were a medical patient living in Louisiana, you were eligible for an MMJ card given your diagnosis falls under the following conditions:
- • Cancer
- • HIV/AIDS
- • Cachexia (wasting syndrome)
- • Seizures/Epilepsy
- • Spasticity (including severe muscle spasms)
- • Chron’s disease
- • Muscular dystrophy
- • Multiple sclerosis
- • Glaucoma
- • Parkinson’s disease
- • Intractable pain
- • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- • Specific symptoms of autism spectrum disorder
- • Spastic quadriplegia
Currently, Louisiana medical patients will be allowed to receive recommendations from a certified physician for “any debilitating condition” their doctor sees fit.
What Types of Cannabis Products Can I Purchase?
Medical Marijuana patients in Louisiana are restricted from the use of smokable cannabis. There is currently no amendment being proposed to this legislation. While cannabis flower is prohibited,
- • Therapeutic oils
- • THC Pills
- • Ingestible liquids
- • Topicals
- • Gummies
- • Suppositories
- • Sprays
- • Tinctures
Delta MedMar | Medical Marijuana Dispensary in West Monroe, LA
Now that the wheels have been set into motion in Louisiana, the landscape of medical marijuana is changing rapidly. At PurLife Louisiana, it’s our goal to stay on top of the ever-changing political climate while providing you the highest quality CBD products in West Monroe. At our sister store, Delta MedMar, you can find all of the regulated medical marijuana products listed above. Before stopping by, be sure that you qualify for an MMJ registration and have checked the above-mentioned action items off of your to-do list. Contact us today to learn more!