Louisiana Lifts Limit on Number of Medical Marijuana Patients Doctors May Heal

Louisiana Lifts Limit on Number of Medical Marijuana Patients Doctors May Heal

Louisiana legalized medical cannabis in 2015, and because, legislative changes, revisions and other modifications have slowed the law’s rollout. However, this November cannabis sales will likely begin throughout the state. The problem, however, is the number of patients will have access to a physician who can provide they ’ ll need to enter one of those dispensaries to the recommendation. As of now, Louisiana has only 31 physicians licensed to recommend cannabis treatments.

Louisiana ’s Board of Medical Examiners have taken a significant step to make it more easy for doctors. During a meeting in New Orleans now, the board voted to lift the cap it had placed on doctors.

Louisiana Lifts Follow-Up Requirements and Patient Cap on Recommending Physicians

Prior to today’s 8-1 vote, the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners had put a limitation on the number of medical cannabis patients a recommending physician could take on. The cap was set at 100 patients in 2016. If it were still in effect, it’s likely Louisiana’s medical cannabis program would only be able to function 4,000 patients at most by November. A much smaller number than the 100,000 patients expected to enroll in the program, officials say.

Recently, however, lawmakers recognized the need to lift the individual cap. And the need has become even more pressing with few physicians enrolling in the program. The country also added more qualifying conditions earlier this summer, which will likely draw more visitors to seek medical cannabis recommendations.

So the vote to remove the patient cap is an important one. And it removes with. But that wasn’t the access barrier that the board voted to eliminate now. At a much closer 5-4 vote, the board also eliminated followup requirements for patients and their doctors. Previously, patients had to visit their physician after 90-days of treatment so as to be eligible for a renewal.

Medical Cannabis Groups Plan Campaign to Educate Louisiana Doctors About Cannabis

Taking away the patient cap is simply part of the equation, however. Another part is bringing more doctors into the area. But Louisiana’s youthful medical cannabis program doesn’t seem to have caught on with doctors yet. Just 48 have even applied. 

Because of this, many rural residents don’t have any local access to a cannabis recommendation. Louisiana ’ s cannabis industry is taking the lead to tackle the problem. GB Sciences is working on outreach and education programs to promote more involvement among Louisiana doctors.

The Louisiana State University AgCenter, which offers students industry-focused programs, is partnering with GB and the State Board of Medical Examiners to schedule informational meetings with doctors’ groups to make online resources.

Meanwhile, the industry, physicians, and lawmakers are currently observing the board’s vote to remove follow-up requirements and the cap. Dr. Les Johnson, a board member, described it as “an historic moment for our state. ”

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