[JURIST] The Louisiana House of Representatives [official website] approved a medical marijuana bill [legislative materials] on Thursday and sent the bill as amended back to the Senate for concurrence. The Senate previously approved the bill that seeks to provide a legal way to supply therapeutic marijuana to patients who need it in May. The current system allows doctors to prescribe marijuana and patients to use it, but lacks legal guidelines for marijuana providers. The bill gives authority to three state boards to set rules to regulate the distribution system. If the Senate approves the bill as amended, it will be sent to Governor Bobby Jindal [official website] who expressed [NOLA report] his intent to sign the bill if it reaches his desk.
The legal use and sale [JURIST backgrounder] of marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes has created controversy among a number of states in the US in the past few years. In May the Pennsylvania Senate approved [JURIST report] a similar medical marijuana bill that would allow medical marijuana products to be grown by licensed cultivation facilities and distributed through state-regulated dispensaries. Also in May Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed [JURIST report] an executive order legalizing medical marijuana. The order referred to several US studies that show the therapeutic use of the plant in treating different medical conditions including pain associated with AIDS, glaucoma, migraines, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other diseases. The Governor further noted that several US states have already legalized medical marijuana for these uses.