Medical Marijuana Regulation 

 

Introduction

Per Act 491 and Act 492 of the 2022 Regular Legislature, as of August 1, 2022, the Louisiana Department of Health has assumed regulatory authority over Louisiana's medical (therapeutic) marijuana program. LDH personnel are responsible for conducting inspections of medical marijuana production facilities and reviewing finished product test results to verify compliance with the requirements of La. R.S. 40: 1046. While there will be some changes to the way that the program is administered, the department is working with its counterparts at the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry to ensure a smooth transition.

The fundamental mechanics of the program remain unchanged at this time. There are two licensed medical-marijuana manufacturers in the state of Louisiana--the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center and the Southern University Agricultural Center. Each of those two licensees contracts with a third-party firm ("permittee") to handle the aspects of growth, processing, testing and transportation of the product. Each batch of product is tested for purity and to ensure that it does not exceed the THC-content levels prescribed by the Legislature. Product that has been tested and accepted by the permittee may be transported to one of the (currently) ten licensed pharmacies/dispensaries in the state for distribution to a consumer. Dispensaries may provide medical marijuana in an approved dosage form to any patient with a valid recommendation from a board-certified Louisiana physician.

 

Key Changes

 

  • regulatory authority over permitted manufacturers transferred to the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF)
  • a patient-population-based mechanism is in place for licensed pharmacies (dispensaries) to open "satellite" locations
  • third-party laboratory approval mechanism is in place for authorizing alternate laboratories for testing of medical-marijuana products (other than the LDAF Agricultural Chemistry Laboratory)
  • explicitly authorizes physicians to recommend medical-marijuana patients by means of telemedicine appointments

 

Important Reference Documents

 

Medical Marijuana Regulation - emergency rules promulgated by the department

Act 491 of the 2022 Legislature - most recent statutory changes to the program (also see Act 492 and Act 628)

Act 492 of the 2022 Legislature - see Act 491 and Act 628

Act 628 of the 2022 Legislature - see Act 491 and Act 492

La. R.S. 40: 1046 - medical marijuana statute - note that this online version has not yet been updated with 2022 changes

 

 

For Stakeholders

  • If you are a patient looking for a medical-marijuana recommendation (prescription), contact your primary-care physician.
  • if you are a physician looking for the LSBME guidance regarding recommending therapeutic (medical) marijuana to patients, go here.
  • if you are a pharmacy looking for rules on how to operate in compliance with Board of Pharmacy rules, go here.