According to Revised Statutes (RS) 40:1046, Louisiana State University and Southern University each have the option to apply for a medical marijuana production facility license individually or jointly. Both universities chose to participate, and the contractors selected by each university are now in charge of cultivation.
Before mid-2022, the Department of Agriculture and Forestry oversaw the growing of medical cannabis. Due to the passage of Act 491 and Act 492, the Louisiana Department of Health has taken over regulatory control of the State's medical marijuana program as of August 1, 2022.
The law authorized the Louisiana Department of Health to supervise and conduct inspections of the contractor chosen by the licensed university through a competitive bid procedure to cultivate, extract, process, produce, and transport medical marijuana. Initial inspections of contractor facilities must be carried out in compliance with the guidelines and specifications listed below:
Be located inside a structure with a full roof enclosure and connecting walls made of durable materials that extend to the roof.
Have a foundation, slab, or base to which the floor is firmly fastened.
Adhere to performance criteria to ensure that cultivation and processing operations cannot and are not fairly perceptible from the structure in terms of visual observation, noise, light pollution, glare, brightness, odors, smells, fragrances, or other olfactory stimuli.
Conduct a complete visual screening.
Comply with all applicable federal, State, and local fire, electrical, and plumbing rules, as well as building specifications.
Cultivation of medical marijuana by licensed contractors must be done in an enclosed facility.
Yes, cannabis manufacturing is allowed in Caddo Parish. State law authorizes the Department of Health to designate one pharmacy in each of Louisiana's nine regions.
However, Act 491 recently made minor changes and stated that the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy should create an annual non-transferable specialty license for a pharmacy to distribute approved marijuana for medicinal use, with no more than ten licenses awarded in the State. The board shall, through a competitive process, grant one license to each region and one additional license to the region with the greatest population density as of August 1, 2022. When deciding whether to grant a license, the board shall give special consideration to an applicant's status as a minority-owned, woman-owned, or veteran-owned business.
Furthermore, Act 491 requires that the contractor:
Keeps up-to-date elevation drawings and precise, detailed plans of all operational areas involved in the growth, extraction, processing, and manufacture of medical marijuana
Possesses and maintains a written operations plan, including instructions for making each product, equipment operation manuals, quality control methods, and emergency preparedness procedures
Access to the Louisiana Medical Marijuana Tracking System
Operational alarm and video surveillance systems, secure locking mechanisms, limited access areas, and door control all around to protect the contractor from unauthorized entry from other persons
Accurate inventory reporting to include an initial inventory
The availability of up-to-date, thorough, and accurate personnel records
The Louisiana Department of Health is required to inspect each contractor facility at least twice a year once the contractor starts producing medical marijuana at a facility that has been granted approval.
Yes. As mentioned, Act 491 permits the Louisiana Department of Health to issue a non-transferable specialty license to the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center and the Southern University Agricultural Center in order to produce medical marijuana, and each university has the authority to have contractors.
Permits are non-transferable and subject to an application screening process and a license charge of $100,000.00. Permits must be renewed on or before July 1 of each year.
Act 491 also mandates that each contractor facility maintain an on-site security staff from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and maintain off-site electronic security monitoring at all other times. Access to surveillance controls and monitoring must only be granted to personnel who have received authorization, and all surveillance recordings must be kept for at least thirty days.
Allowed forms of medical marijuana for sale for licensed patients in Caddo Parish include edibles, tinctures, flowers, concentrates, topicals, and metered dose inhalers.
Yes. Each marijuana pharmacy licensed in the State must provide home delivery to licensed patients in each zip code within its jurisdiction at least once each month, in accordance with Act 491. Furthermore, a contractor may deliver medical marijuana to licensed pharmacies, an approved laboratory, or a cultivation contractor.
A contractor must create an inventory manifest in the Louisiana Medical Marijuana Tracking System, or LMMTS, before transporting therapeutic marijuana. This manifest must contain all of the information listed below:
The company name that initiated the transport
The name of the recipient, whether it be a licensed pharmacy, accredited laboratory, or contractor
The volume, in weight or units, of every kind of medical marijuana product that was transported
The date, as well as the approximate timing of the transport's departure and arrival
The name of agents traveling with the product
The transport delivery vehicle's make, model, and license plate number
A copy of the LMMTS inventory manifest, which may not be changed after leaving the facility of the originating contractor, must be given by the contractor initiating the transport to the contractor, approved laboratory, or licensed pharmacy receiving the transport.
Louisiana does not issue medical marijuana cards. Instead, the doctor will fax patient certifications right to the dispensary. This recommendation acts as proof of eligibility for the patient.
RS 40:1046 authorizes any physician who is duly accredited and in good standing with the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners to recommend medical marijuana to any patient who has been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition as follows:
Any of the neurodegenerative disorders listed below:
Lewy body dementia
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Motor neuron disease
Spinal muscular atrophy
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Cachexia or wasting syndrome
Severe muscle spasms
Repetitive or stimulating behavior that is so severe that it endangers the autistic person's physical well-being.
Avoidance of people or a severe lack of communication that puts the autistic person's physical health in danger
Physically destructive or aggressive behavior
A concussion diagnosed by a doctor
Traumatic brain injury
Chronic pain linked with sickle cell disease
Chronic pain linked with fibromyalgia
Any illness for which a patient is getting palliative or hospice care
Any condition that is not otherwise mentioned in this section that a doctor, in their professional judgment, finds to be debilitating to a specific patient and is qualified to treat through medical education and training
Doctors can recommend patients for medical marijuana through telemedicine consultations. A patient may only receive 2.5 ounces of cannabis from medical marijuana pharmacies every 14 days.
Only patients who are residents of Louisiana, have a current clinical diagnosis of a debilitating medical condition, and have a bonafide doctor-patient relationship (in which the doctor has conducted an in-person exam, established and maintains a medical record, and is in charge of the patient's ongoing assessment and treatment for their condition or a symptom of it) can be recommended for telemedicine.
For inquiries, please contact:
Louisiana Department of Health
P.O. Box 629
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-0629
Phone: (225) 342-9500
Fax: (225) 342-5568
Business Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
According to Act 491, the Louisiana Department of Health will charge a fee equal to 7% of the total revenue from sales of medical marijuana. The licensed production facility or authorized contractor that sells medical marijuana to marijuana pharmacies is required to record and pay the charge. The Department of Revenue will be responsible for collecting the charge and transferring it each month to the state treasury for deposit into the Community and Family Support System Fund. A sum shall be allotted to the department in accordance with a legislative appropriation for regulatory, administrative, investigative, enforcement, legal, and other necessary costs, as well as for activities connected with the enforcement of the laws and regulations that govern the therapeutic marijuana program.
The Medical Marijuana Program's expenditure budget for the 2021 calendar year reflected operational licensees. Employee permit, background check, and license fees of $208,919.90 and $523,700 from the State General Fund, for a combined total of $732,619.90, are the sources of income. However, 2021's overall expenses outweigh its income, resulting in a (-19,420.29) deficit for the calendar year. Meanwhile, legislators have attempted to legalize recreational marijuana use in Louisiana.
According to the FBI crime report, data generated from the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office shows a drop in DUI arrests for the years 2018, 2019, and 2020, from 109 to 85 and 84, respectively. Meanwhile, the number of marijuana possession arrests for 2017, 2018, and 2019 vary from 289 to 194 and 209 cases, respectively.
Note that medical marijuana was first distributed in Louisiana in 2019.