The Louisiana House today voted 82-0 to allow medical marijuana patients to inhale cannabis, sending the bill to the governor’s desk for final approval.
The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge, does not allow smoking, but patients can inhale medical marijuana through a device similar to an asthma inhaler.
Present law permits patients to consume medical marijuana through edibles, oils and extracts.
The bill initially stalled in the Senate as lawmakers sought to expand the number of licenses to prescribe medical cannabis, but legislators revived the measure after including “metered-dose inhaler” in the definition of acceptable devices.
James also added an amendment to allow doctors who live outside the state to suggest therapeutic medical marijuana treatment. The current law only permits in-state physicians to recommend medical cannabis usage.
In order to legally receive medical marijuana, patients must have “debilitating medical conditions,” such as cancer, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, intractable pain and/or HIV.
No medical cannabis has been delivered to patients yet because of an ongoing feud between the state’s agriculture commissioner, Mike Strain, and the LSU AgCenter over a dispute about growing methods. Therapeutic marijuana is expected to be available later this year. [Read more at Gambit]