Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Senate Committee, Heads To The Floor

Today, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee passed a medical marijuana bill. While medical marijuana has already been legal in Louisiana since the 1990s, there has been no procedure to prescribe it.

SB 143 by State Sen. Fred Mills (R-Parks) creates a procedure for medical marijuana to be prescribed for “a medically recognized disease or condition.” He filed similar legislation last year. The are two key differences in this bill from how medical marijuana is done in say California.

  • Medical marijuana could be prescribed in any form except for inhalation (ie. smoking). What we’re talking about here are oils, edibles, topicals, etc. Whereas in California marijuana can be prescribed in any form.
  • There are no “pot cards” in this bill. Medical marijuana can only be prescribed by a physician who can prescribe Schedule I narcotics in Louisiana. The “pot cards” are one reason medical marijuana in California has become de facto pot legalization. You have to get a doctor to prescribe it to treat a medical condition.

My view on medical marijuana is this; it’s not the cure all its proponents claim, but it’s also not the disaster its detractors claim. Plus, I believe marijuana legalization is an issue that needs to be debated and medical marijuana should not be used as backdoor legalization. I think this is a good bill.

The worst thing that could happen in a medical marijuana bill is to create de facto legalization as in California. In that state, marijuana remains illegal for recreational use, but it is so easy to get a “pot card” that it’s well known that “medical marijuana” is used for that. That’s because marijuana can be “prescribed” to be smoked. The “doctors” and dispensaries have created a cartel that wouldn’t exist in an actual free market. They have also locked out street level dealers from the industry. These are the ones we want to make money and bringing their entrepreneurial skills to the legitimate market.

Last year, the bill was defeated in committee in the Senate. I expect this bill to pass this year and eventually wind up on Governor Jindal’s desk. It would not surprise me if Jindal let it become law without his signature.




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