You are here
Home > News > Louisiana Bill to Allow State Employees to Use Medical Cannabis Receives Unanimous Vote

Louisiana Bill to Allow State Employees to Use Medical Cannabis Receives Unanimous Vote

On May 19, House Bill 988 passed the Louisiana House Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations. The bill would provide protections to state workers who use medicinal cannabis if it becomes law. The bill would not allow employees to be fired or discriminated against applicants. However, it will protect public safety workers such as law enforcement and firefighters.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mandie Landry, strongly believes that her bill is a healthier choice for Louisianians. “There are a lot of people who don’t want to take opioids for their long-term PTSD and pain management because of the high possibility of addiction to opioids,” Landry said, according to the Louisiana Illuminator. “This has proved to be a better option than them.”

According to the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy, there are currently nine licensed pharmacies that can serve medical marijuana consumers.

Jacques Berry, Louisiana Department of Administration Communications director, noted at the meeting that regulations have been put in place by his department to protect against discrimination regarding medical cannabis use. He shared his views on unifying regulations across departments with an example of a similar workplace harassment bill. “Every agency had a sexual harassment policy, but they were all over the place, and Dr. [and Rep. Barbara] Carpenter wanted stricter, more consistent standards,” Berry said. “She wrote a very good law, and it is working very well.”

Rep. Ed Larvadain also spoke of looking forward. “We’re going to have to change how we deal with medical marijuana. But this is a first step.” He also requested that he be invited to work with Landry about finding a solution that would protect firefighters and law enforcement officers as well. “A lot of those men and women have chronic pains because over the years they’ve had to climb through windows and police officers have been abused,” Larvadain said.

Many people spoke in support at the meeting. Tony Landry, a council member of the Veterans Action Council, commented that neither law enforcement or firefighters are allowed to consume CBD, since “it can accumulate in your body over time and cause a positive test. I’m in favor of this bill, and I just think we need to leave no employee behind.”

Louisiana made cannabis legal last summer with Act 247. It imposed a $100 fine (or a summons to a judge) for possessing less than 14 grams. At the time, Peter Robins-Brown, policy & advocacy director at Louisiana Progress provided a statement about the news. “Marijuana decriminalization will truly make a difference in the lives of the people of our state,” Robins-Brown said. “It’s an important first step in modernizing marijuana policy in Louisiana, and it’s another milestone in the ongoing effort to address our incarceration crisis, which has trapped so many people in a cycle of poverty and prison. Now it’s time to make sure that everyone knows their rights under this new law, and that law enforcement officers understand how to properly implement it.”

House Bill 700 was introduced earlier in the year to jail minors who possess small amounts cannabis. The Louisiana Progress was adopted on March 23rd. Tweeted a response to the bill’s approach in keeping minors away from cannabis. “In #lalege Admin. Crim. The cmte will be hearing the HB700 case. @LarryBagleyLAThis would make it illegal for juveniles to possess less than 14g of marijuana than adult. potential jail time. Very very very very very very very bad idea. #lagov”. It’s still being considered by the House.