The Louisiana House has voted 82-0 in favour of permitting medicinal marijuana patients to vape cannabis and HB 385 now heads to the governor’s desk for approval.
The bill looked dead in the water when the Senate rejected it in a 21-14 vote last week after criticizing the language for not being tight enough. Yet Sen. Fred Mills went away and quickly reworked it over the weekend, and it passed with a 31-7 vote on Monday.
It now states that only metered doses will be allowed via an inhaler. The bill went back to the House and gained unanimous approval, so it now heads to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ desk to be signed into law.
Right now only edibles, oils, and topicals are permitted, but HB 385 would allow patients to inhale it, although smoking will still be banned. Sponsor Rep. Ted James also added an amendment allowing out of state doctors to prescribe cannabis before it passed.
Medicinal cannabis was legalized in Louisiana all the way back in 2015, but patients are still yet to gain access to any. That is largely down to a feud between the state’s Department of Agriculture and Forestry and the selected growers.
It issued just two cultivation licenses – one to the LSU AgCenter and the agricultural department at Southern University – and LSU has teamed up with Nevada-based GB Sciences for the venture. Yet petty squabbles between the Department of Agriculture and Forestry and LSU delayed the process and Edwards had to step in and urge them to put aside their differences and ramp up production as quickly as possible.
The first Louisiana-grown cannabis is expected to be available at dispensaries by this summer.
Elsewhere, a marijuana legalization bill has cleared the first legislative hurdle in Delaware. The state’s the House Revenue and Finance Committee decided to release the measure for consideration by the full House after a two-hour hearing.
Co-sponsor Rep. Paul Baumbach said prohibition of marijuana has been a dismal failure and urged his fellow lawmakers to regulate an industry.
Meanwhile, Illinois is on the cusp of legalizing recreational marijuana after the bill passed through both chambers. It is now just awaiting the signature of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who is a staunch backer of the legislation, so that is a slam dunk.