MMJ PURCHASING LIMITS
- A 30-day supply of MMJ in any form other than flower.
- From January 2022, pharmacies can dispense up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana flower every 14 days.
MINIMUM AGE LIMIT
- *Minors require a parent/guardian to register as a caregiver
LIST OF QUALIFYING CONDITIONS (INCLUDES BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO)
- Cachexia (wasting syndrome)
- Seizures / Epilepsy
- Spasticity (including severe muscle spasms)
- Crohn’s disease
- Muscular dystrophy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Intractable pain
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Specific symptoms of autism spectrum disorder
- Spastic quadriplegia
- *The program recently expanded to include any condition that “a physician, in his medical opinion, considers debilitating to an individual patient and is qualified through his medical education and training to treat.”
If you’re wondering how to get medical marijuana in Louisiana, you’ll be pleased to learn that the process has become easier. The state has one of the simplest, most straightforward recommendation processes. Recent changes to the law have also increased the number of doctors available to provide certifications.
On June 30, 2015, Governor Bobby Jindal signed SB 143. It set the framework for a medical marijuana program in Louisiana. SB 143 permitted Louisiana physicians to prescribe MMJ following DEA and FDA guidelines. However, as these guidelines didn’t exist, there was no way to implement a program!
Everything changed in 2016 when Governor John Bel Edwards signed SB 271 into law. It made provisions for a comprehensive medical marijuana program in the state. Despite further additions to the law, MMJ patients in Louisiana had to wait. The first pharmacy finally opened on August 6, 2019.
In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about getting a Louisiana medical marijuana card. This includes how it works and what you have to do to get approved.
How to Get a Louisiana Medical Marijuana Card
You can only get an MMJ card with a recommendation from a physician.
At one time, finding a medical marijuana doctor in Louisiana was challenging. Physicians had to complete an online program to earn a ‘Therapeutic Marijuana Registration’ permit. Only doctors with this qualification were allowed to provide certification.
Fortunately, this all changed when Governor Edwards signed HB 819 into law in August 2020. This piece of legislation allows all licensed Louisiana doctors in good standing to recommend marijuana to qualifying patients. Now, let’s find out more about the Louisiana MMJ card application process.
Step 1: Find Medical Marijuana Doctors in Louisiana
You can easily find a doctor willing to provide a certification for medical marijuana in Louisiana. At present, the state does not allow online consultations. However, you can use the services of highly regarded services like Veriheal.
Get in touch with one of these companies to schedule an appointment with a licensed physician. At this point, you will need to provide medical records indicating that you have a qualifying condition.
Step 2: Complete the Consultation
Make sure you arrive for your appointment a few minutes early and bring your state-issued photo ID. Typically, the consultation lasts for approximately 15 minutes. During that time, the doctor will evaluate your condition. You also have the opportunity to ask questions about medical marijuana.
If the physician decides you are eligible, they will fill out a recommendation form. It is proof that you are entitled to medical marijuana in Louisiana. Please note that you must also provide proof of residency.
Step 3: Get Your MMJ Card
Unlike other states, there is no state-specific MMJ program. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) oversees grower permits. However, there is no online application process as there is with other programs.
Once a doctor enters you into the Louisiana Medical Marijuana Registry, you may buy, possess, and use therapeutic cannabis.
Once the physician gives you a recommendation, they will access the Board of Pharmacy’s Medical Cannabis Registry. There, they can add and remove patients as they see fit. Once the doctor enters you into the Louisiana Medical Marijuana Registry, you may buy, possess, and use various forms of therapeutic cannabis.
The cost of a consultation is $200 on average, along with a $75 state registration fee. However, Veriheal performs its full service for $199 and offers a full money-back guarantee if you’re not approved.
Step 4: Visit a Licensed Pharmacy
You must bring your doctor’s recommendation when you visit an MMJ pharmacy. Its staff will check the Prescription Monitoring Program Database to verify your prescription.
Please note that you must refill your prescription every 90 days, and the maximum purchasing limit is a 30-day supply. When marijuana flower becomes available, the limit will be 2.5 ounces in 14 days.
The recommended doses and the amount you buy are recorded and monitored in the Louisiana Medical Marijuana Tracking System.
By now, you may have noticed that we are not using the term ‘dispensary.’ This is quite deliberate, as, in Louisiana, marijuana is distributed through ‘pharmacies.’ They must operate similarly to ‘traditional’ pharmacies that provide prescriptions. One upside is that Louisiana’s pharmacy employees display a higher level of knowledge of MMJ than dispensary workers in other states.
Why Do You Need a Louisiana Medical Marijuana Card?
Until recently, there were legal ramifications for the possession of a small amount of marijuana in Louisiana. Fortunately, Governor Edwards signed HB 652 into law, decriminalizing the possession of up to 14 grams. Now, this ‘crime’ is classified as a misdemeanor with a $100 fine and no possibility of jail time.
Even so, an MMJ card in Louisiana gives you legal protection. For one thing, you don’t have to pay that fine or have a misdemeanor on your record. Secondly, the possession of over 14 grams could result in a 6-month prison term.
Now that marijuana flower is about to become available, you have access to virtually every form of the plant. Furthermore, you have the peace of mind that comes with knowing the product comes from a reputable source.
Finally, although recreational cannabis may eventually come to Louisiana, it will almost certainly take several years. Therefore, an MMJ card is your only way to purchase marijuana in the state legally.
Other Information on the Louisiana Medical Marijuana License Process
Here is some more useful information relevant to the MMJ program in Louisiana:
What Kind of Marijuana Can I Purchase?
When MMJ sales first began, cardholders could buy the following:
- Therapeutic oils and tinctures
- Topicals (creams, lotions, etc.)
- Gummies (gelatin-based)
MMJ patients received a further boost with the signing of HB 391 on June 22, 2021. This House Bill removed the prohibition on smokable and raw/crude cannabis products. From January 1, 2022, MMJ cardholders in Louisiana are free to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana flower every 14 days.
The introduction of flower could double medical marijuana sales in the state to $100 million within a year. The market could be worth $400 million by 2025!
Where Can I Purchase Marijuana in Louisiana?
MMJ in Louisiana is something of a closed shop. There are nine pharmacies in total. They can only sell marijuana procured from Southern University or Louisiana State University. Wellcana is the grower partnered with LSU, whereas Illera is partnered with Southern University.
The state’s MMJ law has divided Louisiana into nine regions, each of which has one pharmacy. Therefore, you may face a lengthy drive to get medical marijuana, depending on where you live.
Here is the list of pharmacies, their locations, and the regions in brackets:
- Willow Pharmacy: Madisonville (Southeast)
- Hope Pharmacy: Shreveport (Northwest)
- H&W Drug Store: New Orleans (Metropolitan)
- Medicis: Lake Charles (Southwest)
- Green Leaf Dispensary: Houma (Teche)
- Capitol Wellness Solutions: Baton Rouge (Capitol)
- Delta Medmar: West Monroe (Northeast)
- The Apothecary Shoppe: Lafayette (Acadian)
- The Medicine Cabinet Pharmacy: Alexandria (Central)
There is also the possibility of a tenth pharmacy license being issued if required.
Can I Grow Cannabis at Home?
No, and there are no plans to allow cultivation any time soon.
Can I Get a Caregiver?
At present, state law only allows caregivers to purchase cannabis on behalf of minors diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Also, the caregiver must be the patient’s parent or legal guardian, a resident of Louisiana, and aged 21+.
Where Can I Use Medical Marijuana?
In Louisiana, it is illegal to use it in a public place. You can only consume cannabis in a private residence.
Does Louisiana Allow MMJ Patients from Other States to Buy Cannabis?
No. The state doesn’t have a reciprocity program in place. Only Louisiana residents with an MMJ card may buy and use cannabis.
What Can I Do If I’m Not Eligible for a Louisiana MMJ Card?
If you don’t receive approval for medical marijuana in Louisiana, you have the option of purchasing CBD oil with a maximum of 0.3% THC. There is no need to get a doctor’s recommendation; reputable sellers such as PureKana and FAB CBD ship to Louisiana residents.
Final Thoughts on Getting a Louisiana Medical Marijuana Card
Thankfully, the Louisiana medical marijuana program is in the process of expansion. Apart from easier access to MMJ-friendly physicians, there is a huge number of qualifying conditions. Best of all, marijuana flower is available in 2022 with higher purchasing limits.
It is simple to apply for a Louisiana medical marijuana card, and services such as Veriheal make it all the easier. The main downside is the relative lack of dispensaries, and that’s an issue that won’t be solved anytime soon.