On January 1, 2022, the cannabis flower finally became available to Louisiana’s 10,000 registered medical marijuana patients. Patients and pharmacists are delighted with the new arrival. They are now hoping supply will increase to meet demand – and bring those high prices down.
Louisiana became the first state in the Deep South to legalize medicinal cannabis in limited forms in 2016, but those forms were very limited. Smoking flower is not allowed.
Now the Bayeux State allows patients to find relief with the plant directly. Governor John Bel Edwards put the change into effect last summer by signing House Bill 391, which authorized the dispensing, purchase, and use of medicinal cannabis in flower form.
This is a huge step forward, with the cannabis flower accounting for nearly half of all product sales in most medical and adult use cases.
Access to medical marijuana: How to find it
In order to obtain a medical marijuana card, patients are required to submit their medical records to a medical cannabis physician (who must be licensed and in good standing) to identify their debilitated condition(s), and schedule a consultation (via telehealth or in-person), And receive a medical recommendation from the attending physician.
Counseling appointments cost about $200 and are not covered by health insurance due to the ongoing federal ban on cannabis in all its forms.
We interviewed a number of medical marijuana professionals and patients to get their insights, thoughts, and feelings regarding the legalization and dispensing of medicinal flowers.
Medical flower success stories
according to Dr. Victor Chow, founder of the medical marijuana clinic in Baton Rouge, the vast majority of his patients are happy to have a medicinal flower approved as another method of administration. Patients who could not afford other means of medicinal cannabis are now able to purchase medicinal flowers.
“There are so many patients who do so well on marijuana that it really surprises us when there are patients who are not doing well,” Zhao told Leafly.
Patients with more than one diagnosis can now use medicinal cannabis in various forms. The addition of the cannabis flower comes at a time when more patients are reaching out to state-certified doctors to inquire about medical marijuana.
More patients, more improvement
Dr. Penny Sue Walker, co-founder of Medical marijuana doctors in Louisiana A clinic in New Orleans, said it was seeing two to four patients a day in 2019. Now it sees 30 to 40 patients a day. She has seen many of her patients’ medical conditions improve due to their use of medical cannabis.
Medical professionals have stated that the age groups of patients range from young children to the elderly who are in their 90s. “I have children with autism who do talk and have never spoken before marijuana,” Walker said. “I have cancer survivors brought home to their death alive.”
Early days, limited supply, this is normal
The cannabis flower can now be purchased legally from licensed medical marijuana pharmacies in Louisiana, but in these early days patients may face a shortage of flower supplies. This is not strange. It will take some time for the limited number of farmers in the state to catch up with the patient’s demand.
As of early 2022, nine medical marijuana pharmacies (what other states call dispensaries) are licensed to distribute medical marijuana in Louisiana. There are only two accredited agricultural centers (Louisiana State University-GB Sciences of Louisiana, and Southern University-Advanced Biomedical) licensed to grow cannabis plants that are expected to provide medicines to the entire state.
“We don’t have as many products as other countries,” Walker admitted. according to State LawPatients can get 2.5 ounces of flowers every two weeks from a pharmacist. But due to the lack of flowers, pharmacies are currently unable to dispense these quantities. One medical patient told us there was only a shake left on her first trip to a medical marijuana pharmacy in Louisiana.
Patients hope that state authorities will consider opening cannabis cultivation opportunities to local farmers, which will help alleviate the current shortage.
Pricing and accessibility are two other limitations that Louisiana faces. Because of the limited number of dispensaries, some patients have to drive for more than an hour and then wait in line for four hours to get their prescription.
Prices are high now, but they may go down
In Louisiana, there seems to be a 50-50 rate prediction for current flower prices. According to Dr. Zhao, half of his patients do not deal with prices, while half of his patients are interested in current prices.
Our interviewed patient (who also happens to be a nurse for medical cannabis) said she found the local flower prices to be very expensive compared to other states. She’s a member of several Louisiana medical cannabis patient groups on Facebook, and the majority of members shared similar concerns about flower prices. A medical professional who specializes in cannabis told us that one gram can cost as little as $12, while one gram can cost as little as $35.
A quick price check found that most drugstores in Louisiana sell in the $50-$70 range, which is expensive. In New Jersey, one of the most expensive medical marijuana markets in America, flowers sell for in the $40-$60 range.
Even members of the Louisiana Veterans for Medical Cannabis Facebook group were in boycott planning talks in early January due to flower prices.
Medical professionals are aware of the competition they face with the illegal cannabis market and hope for more efforts and conversations about bringing down the price of medicinal flowers in Louisiana.
Louisiana rates as of January 2022
|Mandarin cookies (mixed)||Mandarin Zkittles (Indica Hybrid)||Grease monkey flower (indica hybrid)||Grease monkey popcorn (Indica Hyrbid)|
|Gram: $15||Gram: $20||Gram: $22||Gram: $20|
|Eighth: 50 dollars||Eighth: $60||Eighth: $70||Eighth: 50 dollars|
|Quarter ounce: $105||Quarter ounce: $125|
|Half an ounce: $190||Half an ounce: $225|
Farmers are expanding to meet demand
Good Day Farm, the state’s largest producer of medical cannabis, is moving its facilities from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to 250,000-square-foot warehouse in Rustin, Louisiana To solve the shortage of flowers and meet the high requirements of patients. Good Day Farm, which partners with Louisiana State University’s AgCenter, plans to plant more than 120 medicinal hybrid strains that will produce about 5,700 pounds of flowers per month during the three-phase expansion project.
There is talk of a delivery service starting very soon for patients in the southwest Louisiana area. The delivery service will assist those who are unable and/or inaccessible to travel to dispensaries.
There are several national companies trying to get involved in medical cannabis projects in Louisiana, but doctors are encouraging patients with local support. One patient told Leafly, “I really wish Louisiana would look at models of other states’ success stories to bring it here, so patients can have more access to it.”
Find a medical marijuana pharmacy near you
The nine licensed medical marijuana pharmacies in Louisiana are listed here:
- Zone 1 ~ Metropolitan – H&W Drug Store, Inc. d / b / a H&W Drug Store, located at 1667 Chupitolas Street, Suite B in New Orleans, No. 70130-1852. Tel: (504) 301-2363.
- District 2 ~ Capitol Building – Capitol Wellness Solutions, LLC d / b / a Capitol Wellness SolutionsIt is located at 7491 Picardia Avenue in Baton Rouge, La.70809-3536. Tel: (225) 800-9420.
- Zone 3 ~ Teche – Green Leaf Clinic, LLC d / b / a Green Leaf Clinic, located at 6048 W. Park Avenue in Houma, La. 70364-1808. Phone: (985) 360-3372.
- Zone 4 ~ Acadian – The Shoppe Pharmacy, LLC d / b / a Pharmacy Shoppe, located at 620 Guilbeau Road, Suite A in Lafayette, La. 70506-8709. Tel: (337) 345-4500.
- Zone 5 ~ Southwest – Medicis, LLC d / b / a Medicine, located at 1727 Imperial Blvd. , Building 4 in Lake Charles, La.70605-5362. Phone: (337) 420-8420.
- Zone 6~middle – Medicine Cabinet, LLC d / b / a Medicine Council Pharmacy, located at 403 Bolton Street, Alexandria, La.71301-7026. Phone: (318) 545-4460.
- District 7 ~ Northwest – Hope Pharmacy, LLC d / b / a Al Amal Pharmacy, located at 1410 Kings Highway, Suite A in Shreveport, La.71103-4227. Phone: (318) 585-0420.
- Zone 8 ~ Northeast – Delta Madmar, LLC d / b / a delta devastatedlocated at 111 Macmillan Rd in West Monroe, La.71291-5319. Phone: (318) 855-3373.
- Zone 9 ~ Southeast – Al Safsaf Pharmacy, LLC d / b / a Al-Safsaf Pharmacy, located at 1519 Highway 22 West, Suite 5 in Madisonville, La.70447-9489. Phone: (985) 792-2391.