How Do I Get a Louisiana Medical Marijuana Card?
Find a Licensed Physician
In the program’s first few years, MMJ applicants found it challenging to locate doctors who could provide written certifications. This is because medical professionals in Louisiana needed a Therapeutic Registration permit to discuss medical marijuana with patients.
However, in August 2020, Governor John Bel Edwards signed House Bill 819 into law. It ensured that an LA physician “of good standing” was allowed to provide written certifications to MMJ applicants.
Schedule an Appointment
At this point, you must show proof from your doctor that you are eligible for an MMJ card. This means providing evidence that you have one of the qualifying medical conditions. Make sure you arrive early for your meeting with your state-issued photo ID. Most of the time, MMJ appointments last between 10 and 15 minutes. During that period, the doctor will check your medical records and perform a medical examination.
The doctor will provide written certification if they deem you eligible for MMJ. Fortunately, there is no need to complete an online application. Once the doctor provides certification in Louisiana, they log into the Board of Pharmacy’s Medical Cannabis Registry. They will add you to the Louisiana Medical Marijuana Registry, which means you can now legally purchase, possess, and use MMJ.
Get Your Medicine at a Licensed Pharmacy
There is no physical MMJ card in Louisiana. Instead, you must bring the doctor’s certification when you visit a licensed medical marijuana pharmacy. Once there, a pharmacy employee will see your prescription using the Prescription Monitoring Program Database. It is worth noting that places that sell MMJ are called pharmacies rather than dispensaries in LA. They are similar to traditional pharmacies, and their employees tend to know a great deal about medical marijuana.
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How to Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in Louisiana
- A Step-by-Step Guide
- Check the state’s eligibility criteria to ensure you qualify
- Find a licensed Louisiana medical professional and schedule a consultation
- Discuss your use of MMJ during the appointment
- If approved, the doctor will provide you with written certification
- Wait for the medical professional to enter your details into the Medical Cannabis Registry
- Bring the doctor’s recommendation to a licensed pharmacy to get MMJ
Louisiana Medical Marijuana Card Qualifying Conditions
There are three basic criteria you must meet to get a medical marijuana card in LA:
- Have a qualifying medical condition
- Be a Louisiana resident
- Be aged 18+
Patient Qualifying Conditions
The Louisiana medical marijuana program has a long list of qualifying conditions which include:
- Cachexia (wasting syndrome)
- Muscular dystrophy
- Crohn’s disease
- Intractable pain
- Parkinson’s disease
Please note that a doctor in Louisiana can include any condition they believe is debilitating to a patient.
The above information chronicles the journey to get an MMJ card in Louisiana. Now, let’s check out some important details about the state’s medical marijuana program.
Medical Marijuana Card Renewal in Louisiana
As is standard across most states with MMJ programs, a patient’s legal protection lasts 12 months. It is best to contact a physician and book a consultation well before your protection expires. Renewing is as easy as talking to the doctor like before and getting your written certification.
In Louisiana, only minors can have caregivers. To become a caregiver, you must be the parent or legal guardian of the patient and a resident of the state aged 21.
A Brief History of Cannabis in Louisiana
Senate Bill 143 was signed into law by Governor Bobby Jindal on June 30, 2015. It established the rules for a program to use marijuana for medical purposes in Louisiana. SB 143 gave doctors in Louisiana the authority to prescribe medical marijuana following DEA and FDA regulations. On the other hand, because these rules were nonexistent, there were no means to implement a program!
Everything changed when Governor Edwards put his signature on SB 271 and made it a law in 2016. It established the framework for implementing a proper MMJ program throughout the state. However, patients seeking medical marijuana in Louisiana were forced to wait. It wasn’t until August 2019 that the state finally allowed the first legal sales of MMJ.
In April 2023, lawmakers in the state killed House Bill 24, which sought to legalize recreational marijuana.
Louisiana Medical Marijuana Laws and Rules
In Louisiana, having even a trace amount of marijuana in your possession was enough to get you into trouble with the law until recently. Fortunately, Governor Edwards signed House Bill 652, which made it legal to possess up to 14 grams of marijuana without facing criminal charges. This “crime” is now considered a misdemeanor, which carries a fine of $100 but does not carry the threat of incarceration.
On the other hand, if you are caught with more than half an ounce of marijuana, you face a potential prison sentence of up to six months. In Louisiana, possessing marijuana is not a criminal offense unless the individual is proven to have more than 2.5 pounds of the drug on their person.
The distribution or growing of marijuana is subject to far stricter penalties. Indeed, the distribution or cultivation of any quantity are considered felonies and carry a mandatory minimum prison sentence of a year.
What Types of Cannabis Products Can I Purchase in LA?
These days, there are few limitations on what MMJ patients in Louisiana can buy. This is due to the signing of House Bill 391 into law in June 2021. Before this, it was illegal to buy raw/crude and smokeable marijuana products. However, patients can now purchase marijuana flower and products such as pills, oils, gummies, sprays, and liquids.
How Much Cannabis Can I Buy & Possess?
If you’re purchasing marijuana flower, the limit is 2.5 ounces every 14 days. Otherwise, you’re allowed to buy a 30-day supply of other MMJ products and must refill your prescription every 90 days. The Louisiana Medical Marijuana Tracking System keeps a full record of the products you buy.
Where Can I LEGALLY Purchase MMJ in Louisiana?
There are nine licensed MMJ pharmacies in LA, although only two entities, Wellcana and Illera, control the market. The significant rise in medical marijuana patients in Louisiana may have been why Governor Edwards signed House Bill 697. Under this new law, the state will grant an additional retail license to ensure a tenth pharmacy will open.
Can I Take My MMJ to a Different State?
No. As marijuana is a controlled substance, bringing it from one state to the next is a federal crime. Furthermore, Louisiana does not accept out-of-state MMJ cards. On the plus side, cardholders from other states are protected from criminal prosecution under House Bill 137.
Can I Cultivate Medical Marijuana in Louisiana?
No. It is illegal to cultivate marijuana in Louisiana, and only Louisiana State University and Southern University are permitted to grow the plant.
FAQ About Getting an MMJ Card in Louisiana
In Louisiana, getting certified for MMJ online on the same day you apply is possible. After scheduling an online consultation with one of our providers, you could receive a doctor’s written certification and be eligible to buy your medicine from a pharmacy.
Prospective MMJ patients who use one of our providers have a strong chance of receiving written certification if they meet the eligibility criteria. However, you will get your money back if you don’t receive the doctor’s certification.
The registration fee is $75; you can expect to pay around $200 for a doctor’s consultation. However, using one of our providers could save you significant money.
Yes, it is possible for applicants aged 17 or under to receive a written certification. However, a parent or legal guardian must act as their caregiver. Furthermore, if a minor with autism spectrum disorder is applying for MMJ, they need a pediatric subspecialist and a pediatrician to approve the doctor’s written recommendation.