US (LA): House votes to expand MMJ program

Friday was a busy day at the Louisiana House of Representatives, though most of the bills lawmakers sent to the state Senate were approved without controversy.

Perhaps surprisingly, given the vigorous debate on the subject during past sessions, a measure to expand the state’s medical cannabis program was swiftly approved by a 76-15 vote. House Bill 819 by Rep. Larry Bagley, a Stonewall Republican, adds nine conditions for which doctors can recommend medical cannabis products; Louisiana’s program does not include raw cannabis that can be smoked.

The bill also gives doctors discretion to recommend medical cannabis products for any condition a doctor “considers debilitating to an individual patient and is qualified through his medical education and training to treat.” Bagley said Friday he wanted to give patients options other than opioids to treat pain.

Representatives also voted 80-15 to advance Bagley’s House Bill 792, which requires the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy to adopt rules allowing delivery of medical cannabis to patients by employees or agents of the pharmacy.

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