Medical marijuana advocates are launching billboards in Baton Rouge and Shreveport today (May 10) to promote legislation that would set up the framework for treatment in Louisiana.
The billboards, being paid for by the national Marijuana Policy Project, feature two local mothers and their young children, who suffer from seizure-related disorders: Katie Corkern of Amite and her son, Connor; and Brittany Osborne of Baton Rouge and her daughter, Kalie. The billboards read, “Medical marijuana would help my child. Will our legislators?”
Senate Bill 271 aims to add more medical conditions that would be covered and address other concerns about the distribution of cannabis oil. It narrowly won approval in a House committee last week and is scheduled to be heard by the full chamber on Wednesday. It already has passed the Senate.
Medical marijuana has been legal in Louisiana for more than two decades, but no one’s been able to legally use it because the state didn’t establish a framework for the distribution or cultivation of the plant, which remains a Schedule I narcotic on the federal level. Lawmakers continue to work through legal hang-ups for distribution and cultivation of cannabis oil, which is a nonintoxicating derivative of marijuana that doesn’t create the drug’s “high” that recreational users seek.
Gov. John Bel Edwards recently indicated that he supports legislation that would give access to medical marijuana but he doesn’t support recreational legalization. Edwards, who was supported by the law enforcement community during the gubernatorial campaign, mentioned parents like Corkern but said he understands concerns by the District Attorneys and Sheriffs who worry that it could send the state down a path to the legalization of recreational marijuana.