The Louisiana House Health and Welfare Committee advanced legislation April 19 to expand medical cannabis access in the state.

The committee approved Rep. Joe Marino’s House Bill 758, which would expand the number of medical cannabis pharmacy licenses in the state from 10 to 25, according to the Associated Press. The legislation would set aside 30% of the new licenses for minority- and women-owned businesses, the news outlet reported.

H.B. 758 would also give preference to Louisiana pharmacists for the new licenses, according to a News Star report.

RELATED: Louisiana Legislature Considers Bills to Expand State’s Medical Cannabis Program

A separate proposal from Marino, House Bill 135, would allow patients from other states to access medical cannabis at Louisiana’s pharmacies, the news outlet reported.

H.B. 135 would also transfer medical cannabis regulation from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture to the Department of Health and add the University of Louisiana at Monroe to the list of institutions that can research medical cannabis, according to the News Star.

Another proposal by Speaker Pro Tempore Tanner Magee, House Bill 697, would keep the number of pharmacy licenses at 10 but would allow licensees to open a second location within their regions when they reach 5,000 patients, the news outlet reported. Magee’s measure would also give the currently unissued tenth license to Jefferson Parish and would require licensed pharmacies to make home deliveries to their patients at least once a month.

The number of registered medical cannabis patients in Louisiana increased 62%, from 18,000 to 29,000 patients, in the first quarter of this year after a new law took effect Jan. 1 to allow access to smokable flower, the News Star reported.

“This program has finally taken off in the last quarter,” Magee told the news outlet. “I’m just trying to work with all the stakeholders to increase access.”

Another measure that cleared the House Health and Welfare Committee Tuesday, Rep. Travis Johnson’s House Bill 190, would allow nurse practitioners to recommend medical cannabis to patients, the News Star reported.

The bills approved by the House Health and Welfare Committee April 19 now heads to the full House for possible consideration.

Generated by Feedzy