US (LA): Governor signs ten cannabis bills, including significant medical cannabis expansions

The governor of Louisiana has approved a slew of cannabis reform bills, including one key measure that would expand the number of medical dispensaries that can operate in the state and another to prevent police from searching people’s homes over the smell of cannabis.

Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced that he signed the cannabis proposals on Tuesday. While advocates are pushing for broader reforms like adult-use legalization, they generally feel that the enactment of these pieces of legislation represents a step in the right direction.

Among the most notable signed bills is one from Rep. Tanner Magee (R) that will shift regulatory responsibility for the state’s medical cannabis program from the Department of Agriculture and Forestry to the Department of Health. HB 697 will also allow existing medical cannabis dispensaries to add new satellite retail locations.

As amended and enacted, it would effectively allow only existing businesses to qualify for additional licensing opportunities, raising concerns about the ability of new start-up entrepreneurs to enter the industry.

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