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US (LA): Lawmakers setting the stage for MMJ expansion debate

Ahead of the 2023 state legislative session, Louisiana lawmakers are poised to debate two bills that would expand cannabis access across the state. The medical cannabis market is growing in Metairie. H&W opened a second location filling prescriptions; all products are regulated under state laws.

“A kid who is having problems with autism or somebody who is having pain, or PTSD, or anxiety, you know you are getting the same dosage each and every time,” said H&W Drug Store pharmacist and CEO Ruston Henry. “When you’re getting from other sources, you don’t know what you’re getting.”

But is the state ready to open the gates beyond medicinal use? State representative Candace Newell is proposing two bills to the House this session. HB 17 would expand the use, production, and selling of recreational cannabis. HB 24 would decriminalize possession and distribution and establish a tax on the sales.

“Louisiana is a majority conservative state. The legislature is getting more conservative, so they’re not going to be eager for full legalization of recreational cannabis,” said Fox 8 political analyst Mike Sherman. “But societal norms are surely changing, and we are seeing that in more and more legislation getting closer to passage each session.”


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