When will patients have access to medical marijuana in Louisiana?

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On June 29th, Governor Bobby Jindal signed Senate Bill 143 into law, but there are still many questions surrounding the medical marijuana bill.

Many patients are still wondering when, where and how can they receive the drug in Louisiana.

Senator Fred Mills said his phone has been ringing non-stop.

“I’m hearing from a lot of folks. I’d like for you to consider my disease state. I’d like to know when I could purchase the product. I’d like to understand a little bit more about it,” said Senator Fred Mills, Author of the Bill.

The new regulation allows patients with glaucoma, certain conditions of epilepsy, and anyone undergoing chemotherapy access to medical marijuana, but it could be another two years before they actually do get their hands on it.

“The Board of Medical Examiners will determine how a physician prescribes medical marijuana, the Board of Pharmacy will determine how a pharmacy dispenses medical marijuana and the Department of Agriculture will determine how it’s grown, how it’s cultivated, and the crop itself,” said Senator Mills.

There will be only one grow site in the state and 10 licensed pharmacies will be able to dispense the drug.

He said Louisiana State University and Southern University will have the first right to be grow sites.

The bill does allow for more illnesses to be added later down the line.

“The way Senate Bill 143 is written, 60 days before every legislative session the Board of Medical examiners shall report back to the legislature basically saying would you consider these added disease states,” said Mills.

Mills warns this does not mean you can use medical marijuana prescriptions from other states.

He said patients with medical conditions not covered in the bill, such as cerebral palsy, should talk to their physicians.

“Talk to your physician, have that discussion with your physician and if your physician feels that that’s a disease state he or she could write a prescription for then contact the board of medical examiners,” said Mills.

Senator Mills said there will be public hearings held by the Board of Medical Examiners where the patients can give their input.

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