A bill introduced in the Louisiana state House would legalize medical marijuana in the state, effectively thwarting the federal prohibition on the same.
House Bill 6 (HB6) was introduced on Feb. 6 by Rep. Dalton Honore (D-63). This bill would set up a program to distribute medical marijuana to certain eligible patients, something federal law considers illegal.
Under HB6, patients could qualify for medical marijuana if they are over the age of 21, received a recommendation from their personal physician, and suffer from “a seizure disorder, including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, severe nausea or vomiting resulting from the administration of chemotherapy, or terminal cancer.”
Marijuana production and distribution facilities would be allowed under the bill, and licensed by the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy. It would cost $5,000 to a secure a license for distribution, and $10,000 to secure a license for production with subsequent renewal fees costing half of those totals. A “Therapeutic Marijuana Utilization Review Board” consisting primarily of government officials would be set up to review and regulate the intra-state medical marijuana industry.
If successfully passed, HB6 would go into effect on January 1, 2016. The bill is presently in the Committee on Health and Welfare where it will need to pass through successfully before it can receive a vote in the full state house.
Although this bill draws a legal distinction between recreational and medical marijuana, it still represents an enormous step in the right direction for cannabis rights advocates in the state of Louisiana. The top-down federal mandates that have failed for so many decades are being replaced with a more decentralized, compassionate approach that is responsive to the needs of the people.
Activists should embrace any opportunity that they have to make it more difficult for people to be locked in cages for the non-violent non-crime of marijuana possession. The end of the federal drug war is on its way whether detractors like it or not. Measures such as HB6 can help grease the wheels on our way toward that inevitable goal!
HOW TO SUPPORT THIS BILL
If you live in the state of Louisiana, take measures to support this bill HERE.
If you live in different state, contact your state legislators and urge them to introduce a supporting bill to HB6 such as our P.E.A.C.E (Preventing Excessive Allocations for Cannabis Enforcement) Act.