Louisiana governor signs several bills bolstering medical marijuana program

Louisiana’s governor signed several bills over the past week that will bolster the state’s medical marijuana industry by allowing more dispensaries and enabling out-of-state residents to buy MMJ.

Among the MMJ measures signed by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards:

  • House Bill 697, which allows for the number of dispensaries – or pharmacies, as they’re called in Louisiana – to increase from nine to 30 over time. The option to expand rests with the existing medical marijuana dispensaries. But a new MMJ operator could apply to enter the market if an existing dispensary declined to open a second satellite location.
  • House Bill 135, which allows dispensaries to sell medical cannabis to out-of-state residents who have a valid MMJ card from another state. The visitor also would need to sign a form attesting that he or she had a qualifying condition under Louisiana law.
  • House Bill 190, which authorizes certain nurse practitioners to recommend MMJ to patients.

The introduction of smokable flower this year in Louisiana fueled the need for an expansion in the number of dispensaries.

Under HB 697, the existing MMJ operators may open an additional dispensary in the same geographic region after reaching 3,500 active patients and a second satellite location once the next 3,500-patient milestone is reached.

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Marijuana cultivation in the state will continue to be closely controlled by Louisiana State University and Southern University, both of which have contracts with private companies.

The 2022 MJBiz Factbook projects that Louisiana MMJ sales will roughly double this year to $9o million to $100 million.