House Bill 819 Louisiana – Another Exercise in Pointless Lawmaking?

House Bill 819 Louisiana – Another Exercise in Pointless Lawmaking?

Louisiana Capital Building

After passing 74-16, House Bill 819, has now been sent to the governor for his signature. The bill expands the list of medical conditions for which doctors can prescribe medical marijuana, but it is still limited to those who have suffered a debilitating injury. The definition of “debilitating” is left up to the physician, and so whether or not you get to experience therapeutic relief by consuming medical marijuana will depend on what the medical professional’s assumption of how much pain you’re in.

Dr. Ken Roy, who is the former president of the Louisiana Psychiatric Medical Association, says that there is a lack of evidence that points to there being a link between the use of marijuana and any sort of relief. To him, its “problematic science.” But he isn’t the only doctor that feels that way, it’s fair to assume that the majority of doctors in Louisiana feel precisely the same.

Why Go Through the Effort of Passing a Pointless Bill?

The short answer is “politics.” Back in 2014, most politicians in Louisiana were still saying “No To Drugs,” a slogan attributed to Nancy Regan’s campaign many decades ago. While 2014, isn’t so long ago, our politicians were stuck in the 60s. But that’s until Pollster John Couvillon, ran a poll that same year and found that a majority of people were in favor of legalizing medical marijuana in the state. That led Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, to try legalizing it that year, but because with most house members stuck in the 60s, that bill met a quick demise.

Mills then made a return with Senate Bill 271, in 2016, mainly aimed at legalizing medical marijuana, but seeing as how everyone was stuck in the past, certain conditions were added. That bill was passed because it towed the incredibly narrow line of the political elite who don’t want to have anything to do with marijuana yet offered some optimism to people who supported medical marijuana. The message was “we are getting there” when in fact, it was taking us nowhere because it only allowed doctors to recommend marijuana if they had an exclusive license to do so from the state board. Also, the patient needed to suffer from a very small list (14 to be exact) of extremely rare medical conditions like Crohn’s disease.

House Bill 819 isn’t anything special. Proposed and drafted by Larry Bagley, who says that before his encounter with cancer, he didn’t know a thing about medical marijuana. Unfortunately, he still doesn’t, and the bill reflects that fact. While supporters of the bill like to boast that it broadens the scope for which medical marijuana can be recommended nor are there any forms of flower available. The whole act of processing the cannabis sort of goes against the whole “natural” part of the whole thing. And it is up to the physician as to whom they consider having a “debilitating” illness or injury. So, if the doctor does not deem your condition debilitating enough, they will not be recommending medical cannabis for you.

Does not benefit the Legal Marijuana Industry

Honestly, there isn’t a legal marijuana industry in Louisiana. All agricultural centers are at Louisiana State University and Southern University. So, all dispensaries get their products from LSU’s growers. Demand is assumingly so low that Southern’s growers have yet to start selling their medical marijuana! We all know the saying about assumptions.

House Bill 819 does not change a thing. Louisiana, as a state, is still decades behind liberal states in legalizing the use of medical marijuana, and dare we say recreational marijuana. How many polls will it take to wake Louisiana’s politicians and medical boards up to the fact that we’re no longer in the 60s?

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