Louisiana Gun Rights for Medical Cannabis Patients
Table of Contents
Since 1978, Louisiana has allowed the use of medical marijuana. Only glaucoma and cancer chemotherapy patients were qualified for medicinal marijuana at the time, according to legislation that Governor Edwin Edwards signed into law.
The Marijuana Prescription Review Board was established under the 1978 statute, but it was dependent on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the appointment of members, as well as for the provision of product and distribution logistics, all of which never materialized.
As a result, there was no legal product accessible to buy and doctors could not legally give a medical marijuana examination or write a prescription in Louisiana.
The legislature amended the 1978 law in 1991 so that spastic quadriplegia was included in the list of conditions that could benefit from medicinal marijuana.
Medicinal marijuana evaluations and prescriptions were also legalized by HHS in 1994, but there was still no workable system for patients to get medicine.
In June 2015, Governor Bobby Jindal signed SB 143 and HB 149, establishing a legal framework for medical marijuana distribution and reforming Louisiana’s marijuana possession laws.
But medical cannabis products were only made available to patients in the third quarter of 2019.
Initially, only tinctures were legal, but as of mid-2022, Louisiana law allows the production of oils, tablets, liquids, topical treatments, and inhalers. Smoking cannabis is not permitted for medical use.
In August 2020, Governor John Bel Edwards signed HB 819, which significantly increased access to candidates with conditions including but not limited to the following:
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Traumatic brain injury
- Chronic pain
- Any conditions requiring hospice or palliative care
- Any conditions requiring hospice or palliative care that the licensed physician deems debilitating to an individual patient and is qualified through his medical education and training to treat
To assure the safety of the finished product, the Medicinal Marijuana Program is in charge of granting licenses and regulating the manufacturing of medical marijuana.
The Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners, the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy, and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) are responsible for different aspects of the program.
The LDAF is the state’s primary regulatory body for licensing and cultivating medicinal marijuana. Physicians in good standing with the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners are the only physicians able to refer a patient with a qualifying medical condition.
In May 2023, the House Labor Committee voted to move forward with a bill that would protect workers who use medical marijuana from not being able to get unemployment benefits.
Rep. Mandie Landry, who introduced House Measure 351, claims that despite the legalization of medicinal marijuana and the regulation of producers and sales, the state has failed to implement consumer protections.
Does Having a Medical Cannabis Card Mean Not Being Eligible for a Gun License in Louisiana?
In a 2011 letter that addressed this problem, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) stated its still-firm position.
The letter states that it is against the law to ship, transfer, receive, or possess weapons or ammunition if you’re an “unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance.” According to Federal law, marijuana is not regarded as a medication because it is a Schedule I restricted drug.
The ATF memo continues that “any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance and is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.”
In other words, from a Federal legal point of view, people who use medicinal marijuana are not eligible to obtain a firearms license or own a gun.
In Louisiana, the legislation is silent, in contrast to other states that reassure their citizens that the Federal government won’t pursue medicinal marijuana patients who own weapons.
Nothing in Louisiana law protects medical marijuana patients who wish to purchase a handgun, nor does the state require that you return the firearm you obtained before being issued a card for medicinal marijuana.
It is clear that the state complies with Federal legislation which prohibits medicinal marijuana users from purchasing and possessing firearms.
Can You Take Your Gun to a Dispensary in Louisiana?
When purchasing a handgun from a private individual, no license, background check, or registration of guns is necessary in Louisiana.
Open carry of firearms in public is not illegal in Louisiana. Therefore, anybody at least 18 years old and not barred from having a handgun is permitted to carry that gun without a permit in Louisiana.
Parades and bars are just a couple of the places you can’t go with your gun.
Residents possessing a Louisiana Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) may publicly carry a concealed weapon.
Residents and military members stationed continuously in Louisiana are eligible for CHPs. Candidates need to be at least 21 years old, Louisiana residents, and have taken a firearms training class.
Even if you have CHP, you cannot carry a handgun in the following locations:
- Any school campus or school bus
- A law enforcement office, station, or building
- A detention facility, prison, or jail
- A courthouse or courtroom
- A polling place
- A municipal building or other public building or structure, only if the building or structure is utilized as the meeting place of the governing authority of a political subdivision
- The State Capitol building
- Any portion of an airport facility where the carrying of firearms is prohibited under Federal law. The exception being that no person shall be prohibited from carrying any legal firearm into the terminal, if the firearm is encased for shipment for the purpose of checking such firearm as lawful baggage.
- A private residence of another without first receiving the consent of that person
- Designated gaming areas of casinos other than for full-time commissioned law enforcement officers who are on duty and within their respective jurisdiction or on-duty gaming security personnel who are licensed by the Louisiana State Board of Private Security Examiners
- Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by Federal law or state law or regulation
Guns can be taken inside a dispensary unless the dispensary has posted signs prohibiting it.
But you should be aware that there are no regulations protecting someone simultaneously possessing a gun license and a medical marijuana card. According to Federal law, possessing both is illegal.
Can You Consume CBD and Own a Gun in Louisiana?
The definition of a legal CBD product is provided by House Bill 491, along with a variety of rules for CBD labeling, manufacturing, and retail usage. The bill made hemp plants and products made of it legal as long as they have less than 0.3% THC.
So long as you abide by Louisiana’s gun rules, it is safe to say that you are allowed to consume CBD derived from hemp and own a firearm simultaneously.
Can I Own a Gun if My Spouse Has A Medical Cannabis Card in Louisiana?
According to Louisiana gun statute, it is against the law for a gun owner to use, own, or have control over a gun while illegally in possession of a controlled dangerous substance.
The only exception is if the person has 14 grams or less of marijuana. No law in Louisiana says a person’s spouse can’t have a gun if they have a marijuana card.
You can own a gun in Louisiana as long as you don’t use marijuana and your spouse with a medical cannabis card doesn’t have access to or plans to use your gun.
However, it’s important to talk to lawyers who specialize in Louisiana’s gun rules and regulations to get up-to-date insights.
They will be able to advise based on your area’s most recent regulations and interpretations. Laws can be interpreted in different ways, and specific details or exceptions may apply to your case.
Get Your Louisiana Medical Cannabis Card
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