Medical cannabis sales begin in Louisiana following years-long wait

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It has been a little under a month since dispensaries started legally selling medical cannabis in Louisiana and, according to reports, retail sales in the state are running smoothly. 

Medical cannabis sales finally launched on August 6. The tedious rollout left patients waiting impatiently to get their medicine in the Republican-leaning state, where lawmakers technically legalized the plant for medical purposes back in 1978! 

Regardless of the delay in sales, regulatory officials have confirmed that the program is off to a good start, with approximately 5,000 patients already enrolled to receive medical cannabis as a treatment.

An overview of Louisiana’s medical cannabis program

Sources say that just 88 physicians are actively providing patients with medical cannabis recommendations. The number was expected to be higher, but since the plant is still illegal at the federal level, a number of doctors were discouraged from getting involved in Louisiana’s medical cannabis industry just yet.

Patients who are diagnosed with one of the following qualifying conditions are eligible to receive medical cannabis in Louisiana:

  • Cancer
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Glaucoma
  • Spasticity
  • Severe muscle spasms
  • Intractable pain
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Seizure disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) 
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)

Louisianians who enrol in the state’s medical cannabis program are limited to obtaining sprays, topical solutions, pills and oils from licensed dispensaries. More products are expected to roll-out in the state’s dispensaries in the near future.

Cultivation and processing of medical cannabis in Louisiana limited to two state universities

Since vaporizers and smokable flower are currently forbidden for use and sale in Louisiana’s medical cannabis market, Marijuana Business Daily anticipates that sales for 2019 will not likely surpass $1.5 million.

Just two cultivators have been sanctioned by the State of Louisiana to grow cannabis for sale in state-licensed pharmacies, of which there are nine located statewide. Those cultivators are GB Sciences and Louisiana State University. 

Nonetheless, GB Sciences’ president John Davis says that supply concerns have not transpired and that the supply chain is “working perfectly.”

“We’re able to satisfy the demands that are out there,” Davis confirmed to state regulators two weeks after legal weed sales began. “The feedback that we’re getting from patients is really overwhelming, with patients who were having epileptic seizures of 18 a day now down to two.”

Davis regularly meets with Louisiana State regulators to discuss the program’s progress, as well as to inform the general public of what is happening in regards to medical cannabis treatments; what products are/will be available to patients, demand/supply issues, etc.

Although production is limited, dispensaries are expected to meet patient demand during the industry’s early stages. Doctors are allowed to prescribe one month’s worth of cannabis per patient, per visit. 

As time progresses, GB Sciences says it will produce an expanded range of products for patients.

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