The Louisiana medical marijuana program was restrictive when the sales of medical marijuana began in 2019. The uptake was slow because the only available cannabis products were marijuana tinctures. As a result, there were setbacks in terms of sales volume, despite the high demand for medical cannabis. However, with the recent relaxation of some of the rules limiting purchases, patronage has increased, and eligible individuals who have always desired to use medical marijuana can now access it. Some of the amendments made include the expansion of qualifying medical conditions (implying more eligible consumers) for marijuana therapy and the addition of more popular marijuana flower products.
The total retail marijuana products shipped to licensed medical marijuana pharmacies in Louisiana for the 2021 retail calendar year (January to December 2021) stood at 228,168. For the fiscal year that ended in July 2021, reports revealed that two Louisiana cannabis growers remitted over $270,000 as revenue to the state, indicating gross sales of about $4 million. Beginning in January 2022, the demand for smokable marijuana flowers (with physicians' recommendations) increased significantly. Data by the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy showed that prescriptions went up by at least 77%, with a 45% upsurge in the patient count compared to previous months.
By April 2022, the number of medical cannabis prescriptions purchased by qualifying patients rose to a remarkable level of over 500% from the same period in 2021. Similarly, the number of qualifying patients who bought medical cannabis products in the first quarter of 2022 was nearly 30,000, a 60% jump from December 2021.
While recreational cannabis is illegal in the state and not taxed, Louisiana takes a 10% sales tax on each retail sale of medical marijuana to qualifying patients. Additionally, there is a 5% tax on every marijuana wholesale sale in the state. The tax charged is calculated based on the retail price of the cannabis at the time of purchase.
Taxes levied on therapeutic marijuana in Louisiana is distributed as follows:
The Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) collects taxes from marijuana businesses in the state. The department encourages the wholesalers (commercial cannabis growers or processors) to remit the 5% tax levied on each marijuana wholesale sale latest by the 20th day of the month following the month to which the tax applies. Similarly, cannabis retailers are expected to pay the 10% tax imposed on retail marijuana sales to the LDR on or before the 20th day of the month following the month the tax was taken.
For further information or inquiries on marijuana taxes in Louisiana, contact the LDR at (855) 307-3893. Interested persons can also visit the department's regional offices or its headquarters at:
Louisiana Department of Revenue
617 North Third Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802