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Louisiana Gov Signs Marijuana Patient Protections Into Law

One of the new laws lets Louisiana dispensaries sell medical marijuana to out-of-state patients with medical cards

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Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed nearly 100 bills into law Tuesday, including several aimed at protecting medical Cannabis patients, reports Benzinga.

Among marijuana-related bills Edwards signed into law is House Bill 135, sponsored by Rep. Joe Marina, (I-Gretna). HB 135 allows Louisiana dispensaries to sell medical marijuana products to out-of-state patients with medical Cannabis cards from other states.

One of the most welcomed by the medical marijuana industry is HB 697. It reforms systems for regulating the production of medical marijuana and for dispensing products. Under this bill from GOP Rep. Tanner Magee, regulatory responsibility for the state’s medical Cannabis is transferred from the Department of Agriculture and Forestry to the Department of Health. Significantly, it allows current medical Cannabais dispensaries to add new satellite retail stores.

But the law also allows only already-existing marijuana businesses to qualify for additional licensing opportunities. That brings worrisome questions about the possibility of new startups being unable to join the nascent industry.

Nurse Practitioners; Paraphernalia; Immunity

Edwards signed HB 698, which enables fees and charges to be assessed by the Louisiana Department of Health for the regulation of marijuana for therapeutic use.

There’s also House Bill 190, created by Rep. Travis Johnson (D-Vidalia) enables certain nurse practitioners to authorize medical marijuana patients.

House Bill 775, from Rep. Cedric Glover (D-Shreveport), removes items used to consume medical marijuana from Louisiana’s drug paraphernalia laws.

Another one from Rep. Marina, House Bill 137, provides relative immunity from prosecution for medical Cannabis possession.

Smoking, Vaping Forbidden In Vehicles; Weed Odor Not Probable Cause

The governor also signed HB 234, under which smoking or vaping Cannabis is forbidden in motor vehicles.

Also signed by the governor was House Bill 629, sponsored by Rep. Marcus Bryant, D-New Iberia.

That new law specifies that the odor of marijuana alone is not probable cause for police to conduct a search without first getting a warrant.

Governor Edwards signed legislation to decriminalize weed in some instances, and has also supported medical marijuana. But he does not support the legalization of adult-use Cannabis.

However, Edwards, a Democrat, seems to be warming up to weed. Presumably, the poll numbers have played some part in softening the Governor’s stance. Two thirds of Louisianans — fully 67 percent — favored adult-use and medical legalization in a recent poll.

“I will tell you, I have come to believe that it is going to happen in Louisiana eventually,” Edwards said.

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