“I’m moving down by the Bayou in Louisiana soon. In Boston, I use medical cannabis for pains related to sports injuries. I don’t get the impression that marijuana regulations are as open as they are up here. What kinds of marijuana laws do they have?”
They aren’t as far advanced as Boston, but they’re getting there. For one thing, recreational or adult-use cannabis is still illegal. With the passage of Act 261 (known as the Alison Neustrom Act), medical marijuana was legalized in 2015.
There were a couple of problems with the act, such as using the word “prescribe.” Because weed is a Schedule 1 drug and illegal federally, physicians can’t write prescriptions. So the first actual sales weren’t until 2019.
Now state-licensed physicians can review a patient’s medical history, see if they have a qualifying medical condition, and then add their name to the statewide cannabis registry. The patient would take this recommendation, or the physician would send it, to the dispensary of the patient’s choice, which would check it against Louisiana’s cannabis registry. Then the patient can buy legal, medical cannabis.
So it makes good sense for you to get your certification in Louisiana, so you have legal access to a quality-controlled supply of medical marijuana.
Right. You must refill your medical marijuana prescription every 90 days, and the maximum amount you can buy at a time is a 30-day supply. For marijuana flower, the limit is 2.5 ounces over 14 days. Marijuana flower became legal on Jan. 1, 2022. Before, it was just things like oils and tinctures.
It’s essential to observe the medical cannabis laws in Louisiana so you don’t wind up on the wrong side of the law.
You can’t use a medical card from another state to buy cannabis. You also can’t designate a caregiver to buy it on behalf of you, as you can elsewhere. And you can’t grow your weed, even if you are a medical patient on the state’s cannabis registry.
Louisiana has a sliding scale of penalties for illegal possession of weed, starting with a fine of up to $300, and imprisonment for up to 15 days for up to 14g of the substance. And it can go up to 10 to 60 years in prison, and a maximum $100,000 fine, for a second conviction of dealing cannabis. So it’s a good idea to walk the straight and narrow down here.
Not surprisingly, it’s illegal to drive under the influence (DUI) of cannabis. If a chemical test of your breath, blood, or urine indicates you are stoned, then you would receive a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 days to six months in jail. This would be accompanied by a $300 to $1,000 fine, entering into a court-mandated substance abuse program, and participating in a court-ordered driver improvement program. All but 48 hours of jail time could be suspended by doing community service.
Subsequent offenses would cost you even more dearly. For example, for your fourth offense, there’s a mandatory $5,000 fine and jail time of 10 to 30 years (all but two years of jail time can be suspended). Your vehicle can also be seized and sold, with the proceeds forfeited to the state. Your license could be suspended for two years, and you’d receive mandatory psychological testing.
So drive clean and sober.