Despite Federal Dictate, La. Medical Pot Program Moves Forward

Jan 12, 2018

A worker moves between rows of marijuana in an indoor growing center operated by GB Sciences which is working with La. Dept. of Agriculture and Forestry to establish growing centers in Louisiana.
Credit Courtesy: GB Sciences

MEDICAL MARIJUANA- Louisiana officials are still moving along with its development despite the recent dictate on federal marijuana prosecutions issued by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  Ashley Mullens is coordinator with the LSU-Agcenter which oversees the growing operations in the state. She explains what impact  this might have on Louisiana’s medical marijuana program.
ASHLEY MULLENS: "We are aware of the memo that was rescinded by Jeff Sessions and to be honest, we're not sure how that's going to affect our program. And we are monitoring it for potential impact and just staying in contact with our regulatory agencies in the state and local governmental representatives, waiting to see how and if it will impact our program."   Mullens added further that LSU AgCenter hasn't been contacted by any local law enforcement agencies or 

Ashley Mullens, coordinator - LSU AgCenter
Credit Courtesy: LSU AgCenter

others with jurisdiction over marijuana laws in Louisiana. "No one directly other than what our US Attorney has quoted in the paper,  we haven't heard from anyone directly" explained Mullens.  She was referring to the statement from Acting U.S. Attorney Corey R. Amundson, who oversees federal prosecutors in Louisiana's Middle District where both medical marijuana growing operations will be located, said the pot cases handled by his office "typically involve violence, individuals with significant criminal histories, and/or large-scale, unregulated trafficking."  This comment would seem to indicate the Louisiana Medical Marijuana program is not the focus of any investigation from his office at this time. 

Mullens pointed out the Louisiana medical marijuana program differs greatly from states with legal recreational use.  "Louisiana is strictly medical in that we provide medication to patients in Louisiana."  And for a person to get a doctor's recommendation for therapeutic canabis,  Mullens said there are specific requirements that must be met. "You have to have certain dibilitating conditions.  There are 10 of those conditions listed on our website."  

Credit Courtesy: GB Sciences

Mullens clarified that pain is not one of those conditions. "One thing that sets us apart from other states is that a disease state that we don't have on our list is general pain."
The agencies charged with overseeing Louisiana's Therapeutic Cannabis Program are: the Louisiana Dept. of Ag and Forestry,  the Louisiana State Board of Pharmacies, and the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners.

No dispensing pharmacies have yet been selected, and the number allowed under the law is capped. The Board of Pharmacy has indicated it intends to issue one permit in each of the nine state-designated health care regions later this month.  The entire program faces a legislative review after it gets up and running to determine if it will exist beyond Jan. 1, 2020. 
FOR MORE INFO:  LSU AgCenter Therapeutic Cannabis Program