Louisiana Medical Marijuana Commission to Hear Patient Testimony Thursday

Photo Credit: Martin Haase, Wikimedia

The Louisiana Medical Marijuana Commission will hear patient testimony during their meeting on Thursday. The Commission is hoping to hear from medical cannabis patients regarding their experiences with Louisiana’s current program, as well as their thoughts on what needs improvement.

The number of medical marijuana patients in Louisiana has more than quadrupled over the last two years. The state recently passed legislation legalizing the medicinal use of cannabis flower – the smokeable form of medical cannabis – which is expected to raise the number of users even more. However, unlike other prescription cannabis, the flower will be subject to a 4.45% tax, a move that has been heavily criticized by legislators and patients alike.

“Why would we tax medicine?” said Louisiana Senator Karen Carter Peterson when the bill taxing the medication was being considered. “[Cannabis flower] would be the only medication taxed in Louisiana. We can not tax on the backs of our people and our veterans.”

One of the main issues for patients interested in Louisiana’s medical marijuana program has been the expense of the medications allowed. Currently, patients only have access to non-smokeable forms of cannabis such as inhalers, tinctures, topical creams, and gummies. These forms of cannabis are expensive to produce, and that expense is passed on to patients. A month-long supply of medical marijuana could cost as much as $400.  It is widely hoped that allowing patients access to cannabis flower – which is much less expensive to produce – will help lower those costs.

In October, LSU’s AgCenter announced that it will grow and sell smokable medical marijuana to Louisiana pharmacies. The university expanded to a new, 225,000 facility in Ruston on October 20 in an attempt to meet the forecasted spike in demand.

“Phase one of the Ruston operation will include nearly 20,000 square feet of grow canopy and produce around 1,500 pounds of flower per month,” said Good Day Farm Louisiana President John Davis. LSU is partnering with the farm on the project.  “Phase two of the expansion will add another 50,000 square feet of canopy, allowing Good Day Farm Louisiana to produce about 5,700 pounds of flower per month.”

The Medical Marijuana Commission will meet on Thursday, Nov. 18 in conference room 6 at the state capital. Patients who wish to have their voices heard are encouraged to attend.

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