In recent years, Louisiana has experienced significant changes in its cannabis laws, transitioning from strict prohibition to allowing medical marijuana usage. Understanding the complexities of these laws might seem challenging, but fear not — we're here to shed light on the matter.
Let's delve into the specifics of Louisiana's cannabis regulations, covering possession, cultivation, penalties, and the nuances of acquiring and dispensing medical marijuana within the state.
Table of Contents
Is Cannabis Legal in Louisiana?
Louisiana Cannabis Laws
How the Legal Sale of Cannabis Happens
Penalties for Marijuana-Related Crimes
Where to Buy Cannabis Online
- Cannabis is legal for medical use for qualifying patients with a Louisiana Medical Marijuana Card.
- A medical patient can possess up to a 30-day supply at a time.
- There are penalties for possessing more than the allowable amount of cannabis, for unlicensed sales, and for consuming in public spaces.
- Recreational use of marijuana is still prohibited, but hemp-derived THC products may be a good option.
Is Cannabis Legal in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, medical marijuana is legal, but recreational use is not permitted. Only qualified patients in the state's Medical Marijuana Program can buy and use cannabis. Dispensaries, called therapeutic marijuana pharmacies, are licensed by the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy, while cultivation and testing are overseen by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
Possessing marijuana remains illegal unless recommended for medical purposes. However, Louisiana decriminalized possession of up to 14 grams in 2021, resulting in a $100 fine without jail time. Specific medical conditions, like cancer and epilepsy, qualify for medical marijuana, regulated by the Louisiana Department of Health after legislation changes in 2022.
Patients must get certification from a licensed physician to access medical cannabis. Though there's no ID card yet, certified patients need to choose a licensed dispensary and show state ID when purchasing medical marijuana.
HB 507 imposes a 7% tax on gross sales of medical marijuana in Louisiana, directing the funds to the Community and Family Support System Fund. Additionally, HB 514, passed in 2021, taxes smokable crude/raw at 4.45%, with these proceeds allocated to the Construction Subfund of the Transportation Trust Fund.
Regulations for Medical Use in Louisiana
There are regulations in place to govern how a medical marijuana patient in Illinois can possess and use cannabis. For instance, an Louisiana Medical Card Holder can:
- Buy and possess up to 2.5 ounces or 71 grams of marijuana products over a 14 day period. Patients can possess what their doctor deems as a “30 day supply” of non-smokable cannabis. This may include metered-dose inhalers provided by dispensaries.
- Transport cannabis inside a secure container that is inaccessible to the people in the vehicle.
- Designate a caregiver over the age of 21 to distribute cannabis to a qualifying minor.
Qualifying Conditions and Regulations for Medical Cannabis in Louisiana
For adults to qualify for a medical cannabis card, they must have a qualifying condition. The qualifying conditions in Louisiana include:
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Cachexia/wasting syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Intractable pain (defined as “pain so chronic or severe as to otherwise warrant an opiate prescription”)
- Muscular dystrophy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post traumatic stress disorder
- Seizure disorders/spasticity
- Severe muscle spasms
- Any other condition not otherwise specified “that a physician, in his medical opinion, considers debilitating to an individual patient and is qualified through his medical education and training to treat”
Restrictions for Cannabis Use in Louisiana
While cannabis, there are stringent regulations governing its possession and consumption. Per these laws, qualified patients are prohibited from:
- Using cannabis in:
- Public spaces
- Businesses that lack a license for commercial cannabis consumption
- Motorized vehicles in motion, for both driver and passengers
- Carrying or consuming medical marijuana on federal property, given its classification as a Schedule I Controlled Substance
- Transporting medical marijuana that isn't in a sealed container
- Transferring cannabis to another adult in any case, even if they have a medical marijuana license
- Cultivating cannabis
Louisiana Cannabis Laws
Here are the bills that have altered cannabis's legal status in Louisiana:
SB 541: Detailed a system for prescriptions, dispensaries, cultivation, and distribution but failed in the Senate health committee vote.
SB 143:Granted three state agencies the authority to develop a medical cannabis program, authorizing dispensaries, cultivation sites, and non-smokable cannabis products.
HB 819: Expanded the medical cannabis program, allowing any licensed physician to prescribe cannabis for any debilitating condition they deemed fit.
HB 391:Lifted the prohibition on raw/crude and smokable cannabis products starting January 1, 2022, permitting possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower for medicinal purposes.
HB 507: Levies a 7% tax on the gross sales of Louisiana medical marijuana.
HB 514: Taxes smokable crude/raw cannabis at 4.45%.
These bills collectively established Louisiana's framework for medical cannabis, eventually legalizing its consumption for medicinal use by 2022.
Penalties for Marijuana-related Crimes in Louisiana
Penalties for Possession
Possession of over 14 grams:
Possession of 14 grams or less: Misdemeanor with a $100 fine, no jail time for first or subsequent offenses.
- First offense: Up to $500 fine and/or six months imprisonment.
- Second offense: $1,000 fine and/or six months imprisonment.
- Third offense: Up to $2,500 fine and/or two years imprisonment.
- Fourth offense: Up to $5,000 fine and/or eight years imprisonment.
Distribution or Cultivation
- Possession of 2.5 lbs+: Considered a violation.
- Distribution or cultivation:
- Less than 2.5 pounds: 1-10 years imprisonment and up to $50,000 fine for first offense.
- Over 2.5 pounds: 1-20 years imprisonment and up to $50,000 fine for first offense.
- Penalties doubled for subsequent offenses.
- Distributing to minors: Mandatory minimum 5-30 years imprisonment based on age difference.
Hash & Concentrates:
- Classified similarly to plant-form marijuana with equal penalties.
- Violation within 2,000 feet of drug-free zones results in 1.5x the standard sentence.
- Drug-free zones include schools, playgrounds, religious buildings, etc.
Convictions for controlled substances can result in the denial of driving privileges for those over 19.
Legal Cannabis and Buy Online Alternatives
Although cannabis is legal in many states, hemp-derived THC products are still rising as a noteworthy alternative thanks to their affordability and accessibility. Hemp-derived THC products are federally legal, unlike traditional marijuana products, meaning they can often be ordered online and shipped right to your door. Read “Is Delta-8 Legal? A State by State Guide to Delta-8-THC Laws” to learn more about hemp THC laws near you, then check out our Elev8 and Cloud9 Collections.