Louisiana officials are predicting it will take at least two years for the state’s first dispensaries to get up and running, though it’s still questionable whether sales will ever begin under the current program.
State Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain said on Monday that his department and other agencies will have to jump through numerous hoops that could extend the timeline for sales by several years, according to the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report.
Strain has appointed a committee to look at best practices in other MMJ states. That work – as well as analyzing the findings and drafting rules based around them – could drag on for a while.
There’s a chance sales won’t even get off the ground under a recent bill passed by the state that establishes a framework for the cultivation and distribution of medical cannabis.
As it stands now, the measure may prove unworkable because it requires a doctor’s prescription – rather than a recommendation, as in other MMJ states – to obtain medical cannabis. Given that marijuana is illegal federally, doctors who prescribe it could lose their licenses and even be prosecuted.
One state senator is planning to try a workaround: He wants to set up a state credentialing system for physicians who want to be able to prescribe MMJ. The delays in the regulatory system may give him enough time to pull that off.