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Louisiana lawmakers advance three bills in one day

Are you in the marijuana industry of Louisiana? Then we have good news for you. Recently Louisiana lawmakers advanced three bills that would transform the marijuana industry in the state forever. These bills include a law that would substantially enlarge Louisiana’s medical marijuana program and guard banks servicing the marijuana industry.

The lawmakers passed a bill that would allow medical practitioners to recommend patients with any weakening condition to use medical marijuana. The law is now headed to the senate to defend credit unions and banks servicing the cannabis market from penalties imposed by state regulators. The house of representatives voted 74-20 to advance a bill previously introduced by Rep. Edmond Jordan (D). Once passed into law, this bill would prohibit state regulators from inciting banks to stop servicing or canceling accounts for anyone involved in the marijuana industry. This includes industry legal owners, employees, or operators of cannabis linked service providers and businesses. A Senate committee will now scrutinize the legislation before possibly reaching the floor.

On the other hand, the Louisiana House Labour and Industrial Relations Committee unitedly endorsed the idea of forming a task force that would report on the workforce demand of the marijuana industry. Part of the bill notes the importance of studying the demand for labor and the necessary skills for this industry. It further shortlists the best physicians, nurses, and other healthcare practitioners to be part of this labor force. The resolution to create an 11 member task force to report on the study and get the correct recommendations, including proposals for suggested legislation to the lawmaker by February 1, 2021, is required.

On the same day, Rep. Larry Bagley submitted another bill that would allow the delivery of medical marijuana to a patient’s homes. His basis was that it is still not determined whether regulators would allow these deliveries as they allow for prescribed medications. Doctors are yet to be approved to prescribe marijuana products, and dispensation of cannabis through traditional pharmacies is still illegal.

However, Louisiana’s department of pharmacy’s recent memo authorized the delivery of marijuana to patients’ doorstep during the COVID-19 pandemic. This could permanently continue even after the pandemic, depending on how the officials like it. Bagley’s bill would need a governmental body to regulate and create procedures for individual employees or pharmacy agents, delivering cannabis to patients.

The final bill was set for a debate in the House Agriculture, Aquaculture, Forestry, and Rural Development Committee, but its sponsor also put it off. The resolution would have demanded a study on the effects of legalizing cannabis for adult use in the state.

The legislation text calls for subcommittee or the panel members to jointly meet and study the impact of authorizing the ownership and use of marijuana would have on Louisiana citizens and report the un-coverings to the legislature before the starting of the 2021 regular session of Louisiana’s legislature. 

Any of these bills should get to Gov John Bel Edwards (D) before  June 1st, the date for termination of the legislative session.

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