Navigating the Cajun Cannabis Conundrum: Medical Marijuana in Louisiana

Louisiana’s medical marijuana program has some unique legal challenges to navigate and in this article, we’re going to help you do that. Even though getting certified for medical cannabis isn’t too difficult in Louisiana, there are some restrictions in place. These aren’t necessarily all bad restrictions and regulations, but they can be confusing, and those trying to understand Louisiana’s medical marijuana system more deeply might understand why it’s such a conundrum.

We’ll explain Louisiana’s way of doing things by looking at both the upsides and downsides of their system, and hopefully make understanding it a little easier.

Quick Key Facts Medical Marijuana in Louisiana

  • The Louisiana medical marijuana program is run by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
  • You must be aged 18 or over in order to qualify for medical cannabis for yourself. Those aged under 18 will need a caregiver. Caregivers must be aged 21 or over.
  • You cannot legally grow cannabis in Louisiana.
  • There are 2 universities who are legally licensed to grow cannabis: Southern University and Louisiana State University.
  • There are two main companies making products: Ilera Holistic Healthcare and Wellcana.
  • There are 9 dispensaries operating in Louisiana, and they all operate strictly within their own district.
  • Only those with a valid medical marijuana certificate and card may qualify for medical cannabis in Louisiana.

Louisiana Medical Marijuana Certificate

Louisiana’s Medical Marijuana Program – The Good

It’s sometimes difficult to point out the good when cannabis is still federally illegal, and different states all have their own hodgepodge of rules and regulations. Louisiana’s medical marijuana program leaves something to be desired, but there are some positives. For one, Louisiana allows for people to qualify for medical cannabis via telehealth.

With Louisiana’s program, the products available are quite simply explained with regards to what’s in them, and are made using high-quality cannabis. The licenses to grow cannabis have been granted to Southern University, who work in partnership with Ilera Holistic Healthcare; and Louisiana State University, who work in partnership with Wellcana. Now, we here at Leafwell like it when there are lots of great companies who are making different products, but one advantage of this system is that the quality of products is likely to be high.

Louisiana’s medical marijuana program is essentially one of the most highly-regulated in the country. There are only 9 dispensaries and 2 companies making and providing products, with the growth and supply controlled by two universities. There are some other advantages to such a highly regulated system, such as making it easier to research the conditions the product can be used for, carry out clinical trials, keep up testing standards and battle counterfeiters, but it’s a double-edged sword.

Ilera Holistic Healthcare medical cannabis products - marijuana tinctures
Ilera Healthcare products – vape pen, tinctures and topicals.

Louisiana’s Medical Marijuana Program – The Not So Good

Although it is arguable that the program has improved over the past couple of years, the number of products is still limited. There is also currently a prohibition on the inhalation of “raw” or “crude” cannabis, which may be repealed should House Bill 391 pass. Alongside the fact that patients cannot grow their own cannabis legally in Louisiana, this means that people do not have access to cannabis flower and the freedom of different ingestion methods it gives.

Another problem with the restrictions on products in Louisiana is that, when there are such restrictions on the market, the costs tend to be higher as well. When a cannabis market is well-regulated, it should be able to provide a range of high-quality products at an affordable rate. Improperly regulated, and most people either go back to the black market or just don’t bother to participate in the first instance. Louisiana’s current duopoly doesn’t allow for a proper medical marijuana market to establish itself.

What Types of Products Are Allowed in Louisiana?

At the moment, these are the types of products currently available in Louisiana:

  • Oils, extracts, tinctures or sprays
  • Solid oral dosage forms, e.g., capsules or pills
  • Liquid oral dosage forms, e.g., solutions or suspensions
  • Edible dosage forms (chewable)
  • Topical applications, oils or lotions
  • Transdermal patches
  • Suppositories
  • Metered-dose inhalation

Until the laws surrounding herbal cannabis change, you cannot legally smoke cannabis in Louisiana. You may possess up to 30 days’ supply of any of the above products, as determined by a physician.

Vape pen and cannabis concentrate
Vape pen. From Flickr.

Louisiana’s Medical Cannabis Pharmacies

Louisiana generally calls its medical cannabis shops pharmacies rather than dispensaries. Pharmacies are approved by the Board of Pharmacy.

The Medicine Cabinet Pharmacy

403 Bolton Ave

Alexandria, LA 71301

(318) 528-8765

Capitol Wellness Solutions

7491 Picardy Ave

Baton Rouge, LA 70809

(225) 800-9420

Green Leaf Dispensary

6048 W Park Ave

Houma, LA 70364

(985) 360-3372

The Apothecary Shoppe – Lafayette

620 Guilbeau Rd Ste A

Lafayette, LA 70506

(337) 345-4500

Medicis Pharmacy

1727 Imperial Blvd Bldg 4

Lake Charles, LA 70605

(337) 420-8420

Willow Pharmacy

1519 Highway 22 W Ste 5

Madisonville, LA 70447

(985) 792-2391

H&W Drug Store

7240 Crowder Blvd

New Orleans, LA 70127

(504) 244-3784

Hope Pharmacy

1410 Kings Hwy Ste A

Shreveport, LA 71301

(318) 585-0420

Delta Medmar

111 McMillan Rd

West Monroe, LA 71291

(318) 855-3373

marijuana dispensary

Medical Cannabis in Louisiana: Overall

Although there are many problems with Louisiana’s medical marijuana program, there are some positives too. There is quality control, and seeing the efficacy of specific products should be easier to observe, which is key for medical cannabis users. However, the lack of accessibility and restricted allowances on products means that LA patients aren’t necessarily getting the medical program they need.

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Written by
Dipak Hemraj
Dipak Hemraj

Dipak Hemraj is a published author, grower, product maker, and Leafwell’s resident cannabis expert. From botany & horticulture to culture & economics, he wishes to help educate the public on why cannabis is medicine (or a “pharmacy in a plant”) and how it can be used to treat a plethora of health problems. Dipak wants to unlock the power of the plant, and see if there are specific cannabinoid-terpene-flavonoid profiles suitable for different conditions.

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