The Legislature gave final passage to one-half of the legislative effort that would result in Louisianans being able to use the raw, smoke-able form of medical marijuana.

The bill by Houma Representative Tanner Magee mirrors recently passed efforts in Mississippi and Arkansas to lower the cost of medical marijuana by allowing patients to buy the treatment in its unprocessed bud form.

“This will allow them (producers) to deliver a much cheaper product to the pharmacies and retail level and then it is about the pharmacies pricing it right. It should drop the cost tremendously,” said Magee who added that producers estimate the new form of the treatment will be available in January.

The other half of this expansion effort which covers the taxation of this new form of medical marijuana is still working through the Legislature. It recently was amended to include an unrelated tax proposal involving infrastructure funding that could prove controversial.

Governor Edwards indicated he will sign the bill and Magee noted unlike the push for recreational pot this bill did not face any opposition from law enforcement groups.

“Law enforcement was probably pretty conformable with it because there hasn’t been an issue with people using products that they are not supposed to. I’m not saying there hasn’t been a single issue but it hasn’t been a widespread problem,” said Magee.

But that law enforcement support did not extend to this year’s push to legalize recreational marijuana. Recreational marijuana legalization only won 47 votes in the House compared to this medical marijuana expansion’s 75 votes. Magee says legalization is coming, but it will take some more convincing before it gets green-lit.

“The issue is the comfort level with law enforcement and the district attorneys, do they feel comfortable that the state is ready? And what they are telling us is that they are not saying no they just want more time to take a look at it,” said Magee.

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