Quick hits: four things to know about medical marijuana in Louisiana

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Is medical marijuana legal in Louisiana now?

No. The Louisiana Legislature tasked several state agencies to write the rules for growing and dispensing medical marijuana, but there's nowhere to get it — yet. Right now, only cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or people with glaucoma or spastic quadriplegia are covered, but they must wait for state agencies to write the rules for getting and using the drug.

Where can patients get it?

It might take a couple of years before the crop is "ready" in Louisiana. Until then, try nearly half the country. Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington allow personal marijuana use, and 18 other states allow some form of medical use. When it's ready in Louisiana, there will be 10 dispensaries throughout the state.

When will that change?

When — and if — LSU or Southern University AgCenters decide to grow and refine a pharmaceutical-grade product, which could take two years. The universities have first right of refusal to do the growing and refining. If they opt out, another process will determine who performs those functions. Meanwhile, lawmakers will have time to amend and or write new marijuana legislation.

What are the penalties in Louisiana for possessing marijuana (medical or otherwise)?

Possessing fewer than 14 grams carries a maximum sentence of 15 days in jail and a $300 fine. A greater amount than that on a first offense could result in up to six months in prison.


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