medical marijuana

Sue Lincoln
Kelly Tate

WRKF's voice of Capitol Access, Sue Lincoln, joins us for our weekly look at the legislative session. This week, we saw the withdrawal of Gov. John Bel Edwards' plan to impose the Corporate Activities Tax. Also this week, LSU AgCenter Chancellor Bill Richardson gave an update on the state's plan to get the medical marijuana program up and running by January 2018.


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“We’re going to make sure this is one of damn securest facilities there is in the state,” LSU Ag Center Chancellor Bill Richardson said Thursday, as he gave lawmakers a progress update on Louisiana’s medical marijuana program.


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In Tuesday's Senate Agriculture committee, Senator Gerald Long reacted to a House-approved bill allowing the LSU and Southern University Ag Centers to research the growing of cannabis as industrial hemp.

“I think we’re on slippery slopes here,” suggested Long. 


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The first seed has yet to be planted, but state lawmakers are –- figuratively — tilling the fields to prepare for medical marijuana.

In the House Agriculture committee Thursday, Rayville Rep. Bubba Chaney questioned Ag Commissioner Mike Strain on where LSU and Southern Ag centers stand on starting production, in light of the state budget cutbacks.

“The facility build-out, the cost of that, is that going to be borne by the universities themselves, or the state?” Chaney asked. “What’s the opportunity there for a public private partnership?”

Sue Lincoln

How do you start a whole new industry from the ground up, especially when that industry is medical marijuana? That’s what state Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain has to figure out. His department has to come up with the rules and regulations for producing and processing the marijuana by January.

“We are responsible all the way from the seed to the delivery of the final chemical product,” Strain told the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday.

24 years after the legislature authorized the prescribing of medical marijuana, the House has approved the Senate’s bill to set up a system for filling those prescriptions.

“So that it can finally be dispensed in a safe, secure, and responsible manner,” explained New Orleans Rep. Helena Moreno, who was handling SB 143 on the House floor for Sen. Fred Mills.

As one might expect, there were objections and counter-arguments. Bossier City Rep. Mike Johnson worried about the state’s image, if the bill passed.

Compassion and Cannabis

Apr 30, 2015

A bill that would set up rules and the system for dispensing medical marijuana advanced out of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee Wednesday. Although law enforcement opposition has derailed similar bills in previous sessions, the difference with Fred Mills’ SB 143 was the support of the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association.

“The move that our sheriffs made was to be compassionate; was to do things to provide relief,” Sheriffs’ Association director Mike Renatza testified, “And to hopefully not harm anyone.”

Renatza said each sheriff examined his own conscience, and asked themselves, “What would you do? What would you do for your son? What would you do for your daughter?”

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Tonight is the Opening Night for the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, and Conductor Timothy Muffitt joins us in studio with violinist Yevgeny Kutik. Tim starts his sixteenth year as Conductor for the BRSO, and he's invited the twenty-nine year old Russian-American violinist Yevgeny Kutik to join the orchestra tonight in helping the BRSO kick-off the 2014-2015 season.

Also, Libertarian attorney Mike Wolf joins us today to discuss medicinal marijuana, and the recently announced approval of it's usage by Republican Senate candidate U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy. But, with a guest like Mike, the topic expands from medicinal marijuana to ebola hazardous waste dumping in Louisiana, strip clubs, "lying politicians", plagiarism, and back again to medicinal marijuana. 


Insight: What Goes Up (for Debate) Often Comes Down

May 2, 2014

A couple of high-profile bills were on the Louisiana legislature's docket in the past week, both were dashed. A proposal to allow for medical marijuana was rejected and the possibility for the return of the electric chair was commuted to a more palatable proposal for shielding suppliers of lethal injection drugs.

Sue Lincoln


Louisiana’s legislature approved medical marijuana for certain diseases in 1991. Twenty-three years later, a bill that would finally set up a prescription system for dispensing the drug was heard in Senate Health and Welfare Wednesday.

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