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. As of August 1, 2022, nurse practitioners will also be allowed to recommend cannabis if they are properly permitted.
Currently, certified physicians may recommend marijuana for the following conditions:
• Crohn’s disease
• Intractable pain
• Multiple sclerosis
• Muscular dystrophy
• Parkinson’s disease
• PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
• Seizure disorders
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 went into effect August 1, 2020.
With the signing of HB135 in June 2022, Louisiana has approved reciprocity and will be able to accommodate medical marijuana patients from out of state as of August 1, 2022. Legal protections have been extended to medical cannabis users from out of state as of June 15, 2022.
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 possession of under 14 g will result in a fine of $100 without incarceration following the passage of HB 652 in June 2021. For first-time offenders, possession of more than 14 g is punishable by a maximum fine of $500 and up to 6 months of incarceration. Those convicted of possession of more than 14 g 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 of more than 14 g 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 of more than 14 g 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.
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. On July 30, 2021, the city council passed Ordinance 33,328, which prospectively and retrospectively uses the council's pardoning power to forgive all past and future summons for simple possession, effectively negating the fine structure described above.
On March 23, 2021, Shreveport decriminalized cannabis possession of up to 14 g. Violators will face fines of $50 or community service.