House agrees to expand Louisiana’s medical marijuana program


FILE – In this Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, file photo file photo, marijuana plants grow under special grow lights in Baton Rouge, La. A House Republican leader’s bid to expand Louisiana’s medical marijuana program and allow smokable cannabis started to gain traction Thursday, April 15, 2021, as lawmakers advanced a bill that would tax the new therapeutic products. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Patients in Louisiana’s medical marijuana program would be able to smoke raw cannabis, rather than rely on the more processed forms of marijuana currently available, if the Senate agrees to a bill that easily won House passage Monday.

The House voted 73-26 with little debate for the expansion proposal from Houma Rep. Tanner Magee, the House’s second-ranking Republican.

Louisiana’s dispensaries sell medical marijuana in liquids, topical applications, inhalers and edible gummies. But they are barred from offering raw marijuana in smokable form. Magee’s bill would legalize that as well for medicinal purposes, starting in January.

The raw, smokable marijuana plant is cheaper to produce and sell because it involves less processing.

A separate bill that already has won House passage would apply the state’s 4.45% sales tax to smokable medical marijuana products, with the tax revenue earmarked to transportation projects. That legislation awaits debate in the Senate.

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