Louisiana Medical Marijuana Law
Louisiana's first medical marijuana law was enacted in 1978, but multiple updates have been made to the state’s medical cannabis program since then. The most recent legislative changes occurred in 2020 and widened the law's scope. However, the state's production and dispensary laws remain relatively restrictive.
In order to obtain a Louisiana MMJ card, a physician must diagnose you with a qualifying condition. Your physician must be registered with the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners.
After receiving a doctor's approval, a cardholder may purchase cannabis products. Currently, there are nine authorized dispensaries regulated by the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy. If you can present a doctor's certification and a state ID, you can buy products from any of the nine.
Louisiana Medical Marijuana Law History
Governor Bobby Jindal created Louisiana's medical marijuana industry by signing HB 149. This legislation developed a framework for medical marijuana dispensaries.
Nevertheless, it would take until August 2019 for the first Louisiana cannabis retailer to sell any products. Next, HB 819 was signed by John Bel Edwards. This law expanded access to the state's medical cannabis program. In particular, it legalized medical cannabis to treat any debilitating condition.
Recently, a new law known as HB 391 broadened prior cannabis legislation, making raw and smokable cannabis products legal statewide. Card-carrying individuals may possess two and a half ounces of the flower without legal repercussion.
On the other hand, recreational sales and possession are still illegal at the state level. Fortunately, decriminalization efforts have garnered support in cities like New Orleans.
Marijuana Possession Laws in Louisiana
Patients must obtain valid authorization from their doctors before purchasing medical cannabis. After obtaining that documentation, a patient can buy a 30-day supply of non-smokable marijuana. In addition, they are limited to two and a half ounces of the smokable flower. Dispensaries may also distribute metered-dose inhalers containing THC.
Louisiana Public Consumption Laws
Public consumption laws prohibit the use of cannabis products or infusions in public spaces. Consequently, qualified patients must consume their cannabis at home.
Louisiana Cannabis DUI Laws
It is illegal to drive during or after consuming cannabis products, even if you are medically authorized to consume them. First-time offenders may be given a $300 fine and a DUI charge. If you have more than 14 grams on your person, then the fine increases to $500. Additionally, you could receive a jail sentence with a duration of up to six months.
Applying for a Louisiana Medical Marijuana Card?
The application process for a Louisiana medical card is relatively straightforward. As long as you’re a Louisiana resident, you’re eligible to participate in the state’s medical marijuana program.
Start by visiting a state-licensed doctor and securing a diagnosis of your qualifying medical condition. That can include any of the following ailments:
- Alzheimer's disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Chronic pain
- Crohn's disease
- Intractable pain
- Multiple sclerosis
- Severe muscle spasms/spasticity
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Traumatic brain injury
- Parkinson's disease
- Muscular dystrophy
- Seizure disorders
- Wasting syndrome
- Any other physician-diagnosed debilitating condition
After receiving a diagnosis, you must show your identification at an approved pharmacy in order to purchase medical marijuana products. The doctor's note will function as your MMJ card.
If you do not know whether you have a qualifying diagnosis, don’t worry. The Sanctuary can connect you with a physician who can help and then guide you through the state’s application process.
Recreational use of marijuana remains illegal within the state of Louisiana. That being said, decriminalization efforts have reduced criminal penalties for possession. If someone is caught carrying fewer than 14 grams, their fine may not exceed $100.
Typically, state law dictates which products a dispensary may sell to registered medical marijuana patients. Current legislation limits patients to a 30-day supply, or a maximum of two and a half ounces of flower. Patients may also purchase a 14-day supply of non-smokable cannabis products. Metered-dose inhalers represent another option for medical cannabis patients.
As long as you have an official LA medical marijuana card, you can pick up two and a half ounces every 30 days from a legal dispensary.
Since the latest legislative updates, patients and caregivers can possess cannabis flower and CBD products. Similarly, you may buy distillates from state-licensed marijuana pharmacies. However, according to Louisiana law you are restricted to a maximum of two and a half ounces of marijuana flower per 30 days.
Patients can only purchase up to a 30-day supply of products. Since 2020, patients have been able to acquire up to two and a half ounces of flower at dispensaries. There are additional state-defined limitations regarding non-smokable marijuana preparations.
Out-of-state reciprocity does not apply to Louisiana patients. Dispensaries require a state-issued photo ID, so only LA residents may buy products from them.
Right now, there are no laws banning felons from participating in the state’s therapeutic marijuana program. Even if you have been convicted of a felony, you may still buy products from a Louisiana dispensary. As long as you have been diagnosed by a state-certified physician and you’re not a minor, your medical card will be valid.