Expanded access to medical marijuana in Louisiana draws strong reactions
Some see it as a step toward full legalization of the drug
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — More people in Louisiana soon will be able to get medical marijuana.
In August, doctors will be able to recommend it for any patient they think it would help.
The change is part of a measure that Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law Tuesday. It expands accessibility to medicinal cannabis.
“A good analogy might be that of alcohol,” Dr. Bruce McCormick explained. “Alcohol can do some wonderful things in the short term but turn into horrible things in the long term.”
In fact, the medical psychologist said, many compare what’s happening now with marijuana to the 13-year ban on alcohol, known as Prohibition, which began 100 years ago.
"You've got sets of laws, regulations and beliefs that are contrasting with what a lot of people are doing, a lot of people are believing; not everyone, but a lot."
But because there’s so much conflicting research data on medicinal marijuana, McCormick said he has no way to predict how the current prohibition on marijuana eventually will turn out.
On the other hand, Shreveport resident Lauren Anderson believes legalizing recreational use of marijuana throughout the country is inevitable.
“Uh, news flash. It already is recreational. It’s just that they eventually discovered it can be used for medicinal purposes as well. You call it recreational while others just call it chilling out.”
KSLA News 12 received the following response when it reached out to the VA because Louisiana’s expanded access to medical marijuana has the potential to help veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:
And when you spend some time visiting with people on the streets of Shreveport, you hear a very similar response time and again.
Betty Cummings, of Shreveport, may have said it most succinctly. ”I’m all for it!”
Some people have opposed expansion of medical marijuana out of concern that it’s one step closer to legalizing recreational use in the not-too-distant future.
Cummings is among those who don't see that as an issue right now.
"I don't think that's a problem. I honestly don't. If it helps cancer patients or glaucoma patients and they can eat and gain weight and have less pain, it works for me."
A 2019 poll conducted by LSU shows 55 percent of Louisiana’s residents support the idea of legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana. But only 37 percent favor full legalization of the drug.
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