Thinking about getting a Louisiana medical marijuana card but don’t know where to start?
We’ve got you. This article outlines everything you need to know to get a recommendation letter and buy medical marijuana in Louisiana.
Before we get started, you should know this state does things a little differently than others with a medical card program. But keep reading for the details and how to get your LA medical card online in minutes!
Louisiana Medical Marijuana Program
There used to be strict rules in place that governed the Louisiana medical marijuana program. Requirements for doctors who could sign certificates for patients were complex.
In 1978, Louisiana was one of the first states to enact therapeutic marijuana legislation. But patients never actually received any cannabis medication.
It wasn’t until 2015, that Governor Bobby Jindal signed a law setting up the framework for dispensing of medical marijuana.
In 2016, new laws exempted medical marijuana patients and caregivers from facing state prosecution for using cannabis.
In August of 2019, medical marijuana was finally cleared for release and the first dispensaries in the state opened. Some patients got the okay to vaporize medication as long as it was with a “metered-dose inhaler”. Besides this, smoking marijuana was still not allowed.
In August of 2020, a new bill came into effect that continued to relax the rules in the state.
It drastically changed things, and now MMJ doctors can recommend medical marijuana for any patient they feel will benefit from consuming it.
In August of 2021, the penalties for non-medical cannabis possession were also relaxed. With the offense dropping to a misdemeanor crime with a fine limited to $100. There is no longer any jail time for possession for small amounts for those without a LA medical card.
But, to be clear, this is not decriminalization as there are still misdemeanor charges involved.
Patients also don’t receive a physical card in this state. That’s because Louisiana does not base its program on a card system. Instead, after patients get certified by a physician their information gets sent directly to their dispensary of choice.
As of writing, there are nine licensed dispensaries in the state to choose from. Whichever dispensary a patient chooses to designate as theirs is the one they will need to purchase and pick up all of their medical cannabis products from.
You or your physician need to contact the dispensary to provide them with your patient information. This is the only way to finish your application to become a medical marijuana patient in Louisiana.
If you meet with a doctor in person you may need to monitor this part of the process. You just want to be sure that your doctor contacts the dispensary and that all of your information is relayed.
If you use an online service to get your recommendation they usually contact the dispensary for you and complete the application so you don’t have to worry about it.
If you want or need a copy of your medical marijuana recommendation letter during this process you can request a copy from your cannabis pharmacy.
Anyone who gets a medical marijuana certificate can hold a maximum of a 30-day supply of cannabis. The total amount is determined by a physician. This amount can be made up of the following products:
As of January 2022, patients can purchase up to two and a half ounces of cannabis flower per 14-day period from their dispensary.
Louisiana Medical Card Requirements
To qualify for medical marijuana in Louisiana you need to be a legal resident of the state.
Patients must be 18 years old or more. Like other states, minor patients under 18 can still apply with the help of a primary caregiver. Caregivers must be 21 years old or older.
If the prospective minor patient has autism spectrum disorder (AUD) they need two recommendations. A pediatric subspecialist must recommend them for medical cannabis along with a medical marijuana doctor.
Louisiana only approves registered caregivers for minors that are the patient’s parent or legal guardian. Caregivers need to have significant responsibility for managing the well-being of the patient.
The application fee to be a caregiver is $75.
Background checks are part of the process and like most states caregivers need to be free of any disqualifying felony offenses.
Adult patients who need the help of a caregiver are not yet allowed to designate one in Louisiana.
Medical Marijuana Qualifying Conditions Louisiana
As of 2020, there is no list of qualifying conditions that a patient must have to be eligible for medical marijuana.
As aforementioned, the state now permits medical marijuana doctors to prescribe cannabis for any “debilitating” condition, even if it is unique to the patient.
So as long as your marijuana doctor thinks it will help, they can prescribe it to you. This is one great thing about the new Louisiana medical marijuana laws.
Commonly prescribed conditions include:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Chronic pain related to fibromyalgia or sickle cell disease
- Communication difficulties
- Crohn’s Disease
- Huntington’s Disease
- Intractable pain
- Lewy Body Dementia
- Motor Neuron Disease
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Seizure Disorders
- Self-Injuring Behaviors
- Severe Muscle Spasms
- Spinal Muscular Atrophy
- Traumatic brain injury
- Wasting Syndrome
LA MMJ Possession Limits
With a certification letter for medical marijuana patients can possess up to a 30-day supply of medical cannabis.
As of January 2022, with the approval of House Bill 391, medical patients can buy up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks.
Make sure to be mindful of your bi-weekly limits. Louisiana is still strict when it comes to its medication regulations.
Any patients or caregivers that are caught knowingly possessing more than their 30-day supply can get into significant trouble. They can face as much as six months in prison and a fine of $500 for first-time offenses.
It is important to stay in compliance when possessing or transporting your medication, too. Medications need to stay in their original bottles or packaging. The container needs to be kept with the prescription with the name of the person the medication is for.
Louisiana does not offer much in legal patient protection. If you use your medication in a way that falls outside of state compliance then you are taking a risk of criminal penalties. You cannot drive while under the influence. And you are not allowed to use medication at work.
How to Get a Medical Card In Louisiana
The first thing you need to do to get a medical card in Louisiana is to see a board-certified physician. They need to be licensed to practice in LA state. They will speak with you to see if you are eligible to become a medical marijuana patient. If so they will provide you with a recommendation letter.
You can speak with a doctor in their office offline. Or you can comfortably complete this step online in just a couple of minutes.
Online is much cheaper than an in-office visit. And, the most well-established services have money-back guarantees for first-time and renewing patients. This means you aren’t risking a thing by seeing if you qualify. You either get a recommendation or you don’t get charged.
To get started you just have to follow this three-step process below:
1. Consult With A Medical Marijuana Physician
As we said, you can do this online or offline. Online is usually faster, easier, and more affordable.
But no matter how you decide to consult with a physician, this is the time for you to ask questions you may have about medical marijuana treatment. You can also get clarification on the rules and regulations for Louisiana patients.
Remember, online physicians are experts when it comes to medical marijuana treatment. They have an extensive amount of knowledge on how to effectively use cannabis as a medicine.
This is the time when they will ask you about your medical history. They may ask why you want a medical cannabis card and any other treatments you have tried.
They can also guide whether they think medical marijuana is a good choice for you. If so, they can discuss treatment options with you.
You will find out if you qualify by the end of the video call. They often last only about 15 minutes. When you hang up you will know exactly what is left to do before you can start purchasing medical cannabis with your medical marijuana recommendation.
2. Visit Your Desired Dispensary To Complete Approval
For this step, you will need to visit a medical marijuana dispensary of your choice. You can choose to purchase from any licensed dispensary in the state of Louisiana. But once you make your decision you will need to stick with that location.
Here, you will complete the final steps required by the state to become a medical cannabis patient in person.
You will need to bring the following items:
- Proof of state residency
- A signed certificate (given to you via your MMJ doctor online or offline)
- Social security number
If you get a recommendation letter via a Telehealth platform, like Leafwell or Veriheal, your online physician will contact your chosen dispensary to complete the rest of the approval process for you.
3. Legally Buy Marijuana In Louisiana
Louisiana is unique since it doesn’t use patient cards for purchasing medical marijuana. You can purchase medical marijuana with just your recommendation letter after getting approved.
Unlike other states, you can’t purchase medication from any licensed state dispensary. Instead, you will need to pick a dispensary that you always purchase your medication from moving forward.
Once you finish the previous step of providing your information to your chosen dispensary you can buy cannabis products right away. Your dispensary will have your name on file as a patient.
Whenever you go to the dispensary to make a purchase you just need to show your ID. They will verify that you are on the patient list by checking the online Prescription Monitoring Program database. As long as your information shows up you can buy your products.
The dispensary you choose will have professionals working that will be able to discuss medication options with you. They will be able to assess the type of products that might work best for you.
And they will also help you find the dosage that is appropriate to start with for new patients. Veriheal offers online cannabis coaches that can help answer these questions and meet regularly with you as well to customize your plan.
How To Get A Louisiana Medical Marijuana Card Online
Getting a Louisiana medical marijuana card online is simple. And since this state is still very strict when it comes to using cannabis there is no reason to put off getting yours.
Instead of seeing an offline physician, you consult with one online. You can do this by signing up to use a telehealth platform like Leafwell or Veriheal. They specialize in connecting medical marijuana patients to licensed physicians who practice in their state.
You can get a medical card recommendation in minutes online. And, it’s valid for 1 year and at a lower cost than visiting a physician.
To complete this step of the process online you just need to provide a few details to get started. The platform you choose will need to collect some personal details from you like your name, address, and email.
You can also upload your medical records if you wish. The more information you provide your doctor the better they can assess your situation, so don’t be shy. Everything you submit is securely delivered to your doctor. All of their online processes are HIPAA compliant.
The consultation with a doctor will take place via a video call. These appointments usually go quickly, as the doctors have experience working with medical marijuana patients and know what to expect.
If they find that medical marijuana may be a good option for you then they will email your medical cannabis certificate to your dispensary right away.
The certification will last for one year before you need to complete the process again.
How Much Does A Louisiana Medical Marijuana Card Cost Online?
We recommend checking out Leafwell and Veriheal because they are two of the biggest and most well-established medical marijuana telehealth platforms.
They both have helped hundreds of thousands of other medical marijuana patients get and renew their cards and have plenty of satisfied reviews to show for it.
Both of these platforms service Louisiana medical marijuana. And both of them offer a full money-back guarantee if you don’t get a recommendation after meeting with one of their licensed physicians.
Leafwell is $199 for new patients and renewals but you can get 10% off with our exclusive code below. And they also provide extras like excellent (although not 24-hour) customer service. And they have superb state-specific information for new patients.
Veriheal is also $199. This includes a cannabis appointment with an experienced medical marijuana doctor. The price is the same for first-time patients and renewals. You will also get a digital cannabis certification and 24/7 customer service.
- Seamlessly connect with a physician via Veriheal telehealth
- One simple fee
- Approved for MMJ or your money back!
You can also separately book a cannabis coach consultation before or after you get started to help tailor a customized regimen.
In this case, we’d recommend you go with Leafwell for value (approx $180 vs $190 at Veriheal) or Veriheal if you value superior customer service that is available 24/7 in multiple formats.
Both platforms have deals if you sign up with a friend. This is a great way to get a bit of a discount on a service that’s well worth it anyway.
But don’t forget, if you are not approved you won’t be charged.
Louisiana Medical Marijuana Card Benefits
Louisiana is a medical marijuana-only state. So getting your medical cannabis recommendation is the only way to legally purchase and consume marijuana.
This may be the most important benefit as there are still criminal penalties for being caught with marijuana without a recommendation. Baton Rouge and New Orleans have decriminalized it but the rest of the state still needs to catch up.
You should look up the local laws for your city to make sure you know the differences between the city-level and state-level cannabis laws.
An additional benefit for medical marijuana patients is the amount of medicine they can possess. Patients can legally possess a 30-day supply of medication.
Furthermore, medical marijuana patients in LA benefit from the fact that the dispensaries are kept to high standards. Along with the fact that a wide range of potent and pure cannabis products are available.
They are ALL third-party tested products so you know they are safe. And they come in any form you wish (flower, edibles, tinctures, topicals, vapes, or concentrates).
How Hard Is It to Get a Medical Card in Louisiana?
Like other states, it’s pretty easy to get a medical card in LA if you fit the requirements.
You need to be a legal resident, be 18 years of age or more, and have a doctor agree that medical marijuana may be able to help a health condition you have.
However, LA is stricter when it comes to patients exceeding possession limits.
If you’re a medical patient and you exceed your possession limit you can expect a large fine.
And it is still illegal to consume medical marijuana anywhere in public.
Can LA Medical Marijuana Patients Grow Weed?
No, Louisiana medical patients cannot grow their own medical marijuana. Only the approved licensed production facilities are allowed to cultivate cannabis plants.
The only way to access marijuana in the state is to buy it from a dispensary as a medical patient. There are only a handful of approved dispensaries in the state.
You need to decide which one you will purchase from and always get your medication from that dispensary.
Does LA Accept Out Of State MMJ Cards?
No, Louisiana does not accept out-of-state medical cards nor does it have reciprocity with other states.
If you are visiting the state you will not be able to legally consume medical cannabis. This is even if you bring a valid medical card from another state with you.
Other states do have medical marijuana reciprocity though. So if you are a Louisiana patient and you plan to travel outside of the state you may be able to legally use your medication elsewhere.
Here are the states that will accept a medical marijuana card issued by another state:
Arkansas, Hawaii, and Oklahoma require visiting patients to fill out a visiting patient application and get approval before they can enjoy reciprocity.
Wrapping Up Louisiana Medical Card
Louisiana is moving in the right direction when it comes to creating a medical cannabis program.
Many of the recent changes make medical marijuana more accessible to patients. For example, you no longer need to be suffering from a specific health condition to qualify.
If you have been thinking about getting your card, schedule a consultation with a doctor to see if you can qualify. If you don’t it costs you nothing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I smoke with my medical card in Louisiana?
You can smoke in the privacy of your own home with a medical card in Louisiana. Smoking in any public place is prohibited by law.