Lake Charles, Los Angeles (KPLC) – The “smokeable” form of medical marijuana is now legal in Louisiana under certain conditions. The new law went into effect on January 1 and is already raising questions.
It has local law enforcement saying they are moving through uncharted territory.
Calcasio Sheriff Tony Mancuso says he understands that marijuana has been shown to help with many diseases, but it is a controlled drug with laws and guidelines to follow.
“We have to be very careful and very careful how we navigate through this in the future,” said Tony Mancuso, Sheriff of Parish Calcasio.
Mancuso says he and his deputies are watching closely as people benefit from the new law.
Rather than treat it as an illegal drug, he says they will treat it like any other prescription drug.
“If you are stopped it will be like any other prescription drug. If you have a loose pill, you can be arrested for it — especially if it is a controlled substance,” Mancuso said. “Therefore, all medications should be kept in their original packaging. , with the prescription, with the name of the person in possession of the medicine.”
This means that driving under the influence will still result in a DWI.
“When the doctor prescribes something for you, there are certain medications that you cannot drive, you cannot operate heavy machinery, and I think that would be classified as one of those drugs. In fact, I’m sure of that,” Mancuso said.
There are also limits to how much medical marijuana you can take.
“It’s 2 ounces every two weeks. So, if they get caught with more than that, they obviously could get into trouble,” Mancuso said.
It’s not about getting high, says Gary Hess, CEO of Teleleaf — which helps people get medical marijuana cards.
Instead, it is to help those suffering from a debilitating condition.
So, if you look at the debilitated, it’s anything that makes you weak or weak,” Hess said. “So anything that really gets you to step outside of your usual routine during the day.”
Although this does not mean that it will be okay with employers.
“Our policy will remain the same,” Mancuso said. “I’m sure people don’t want a policeman to come into their house high or a reporter or a doctor or any other profession — our factory worker who could blow up a factory. So I think it goes along with any other controlled substance.”
There are nine pharmacies in Louisiana that offer medical marijuana, and after qualifying for a medical cannabis card, the pharmacist will help assess the appropriate type and dose for each patient.