The Louisiana Legislature has passed a bill to protect workers who use medical cannabis, sending the legislation to Gov. John Bel Edwards for his signature.

House Bill 988, sponsored by Rep. Mandie Landry, D-New Orleans, shields state employees from being fired, as well as protects job candidates from being discriminated against, if they are a registered medical cannabis patient.

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The legislation would not apply to law enforcement, firefighters or other public safety officials.

H.B. 988 passed the House May 24 in a 60-32 vote and cleared the Senate June 1 in a 26-8 vote.

Louisiana’s first medical cannabis dispensaries opened in 2019, and the program expanded in January 2022 to allow patients to access smokable flower.

During this year’s legislative session, lawmakers voted to further expand medical cannabis access, sending a bill to Bel Edwards that would more than triple the number of dispensaries in the state.