Louisiana

Louisiana does have a medicinal marijuana program. Licensed physicians in good standing with the Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners who reside in the state of Louisiana are allowed to recommend marijuana to patients after they complete the Therapeutic Marijuana Rules Review Course and apply for a permit through the State Board of Medical Examiners. Instructions can be found at the following website: http://www.lsbme.la.gov/content/application-instructions-initial-licensure-therapeutic-marijuana-registration-permit. 


Currently, certified physicians may recommend marijuana for the following conditions:
•    Cachexia
•    Cancer
•    Crohn’s disease
•    Epilepsy
•    Glaucoma
•    HIV/AIDS
•    Intractable pain
•    Multiple sclerosis
•    Muscular dystrophy
•    Parkinson’s disease
•    PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
•    Seizure disorders
•    Spasticity


Additionally, some individuals with autism spectrum disorder may qualify if they have certain symptoms.

UPDATE: Following the passage of House Bill 819 in June of 2020, physicians will be allowed to recommend cannabis for "any condition" they consider "debilitating to an individual patient and is qualified through his medical education and training to treat." The bill was signed by Governor John Bel Edwards on June 11 and goes into effect August 1, 2020.


Louisiana does not have a reciprocity program to accommodate medical marijuana patients from out of state. 


For more information, see the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry’s website: http://www.ldaf.state.la.us/medical-marijuana/. 


The recreational use of marijuana is prohibited in the state of Louisiana, but most instances of possession are not felony offenses. For first-time offenders, possession of 14 g or less is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of 15 days and a fine of $300, while possession of more than 14 g but less than 2.5 lbs is punishable by a maximum fine of $500 and up to 6 months of incarceration. Those convicted of possession for less than 2.5 lbs for the second time may be punished by up to 6 months of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000. Those convicted of possession for less than 2.5 lbs for the third time may be punished by up to 2 years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $2,500. Those convicted of possession for less than 2.5 lbs for any instance subsequent to the third time may be punished by up to 8 years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000. Possession of more than 2.5 lbs and less than 60 lbs is still not a felony and is punishable by a fine of $30,000 and 8 years of imprisonment. Possession of more than 60 lbs of marijuana is a felony. The punishment is severe.


Similarly, the penalties for the unlicensed cultivation of marijuana are extreme. A first-time offender for any amount will receive a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years of incarceration. The maximum is 30 years and a fine of $30,000. Second-time offenders face a minimum of 10 years of incarceration and a maximum punishment of 60 years and a fine of $100,000.


In the city of New Orleans, simple possession of marijuana has been largely decriminalized by New Orleans City Ordinance 31,148. According to the ordinance, first-time offenders receive a verbal warning, second-time offenders receive a written warning, third-time offenders receive a fine of $50, and subsequent offenses result in fines of $100. The ordinance does not define “simple possession,” but it seems reasonable to assume that 14 g or less qualifies as such. 

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