Louisiana Senate committee defeats medical marijuana
Chris Miller Reporting
The debate over medical marijuana is over in the Louisiana senate. The Health and Welfare committee voted 6-2 not to send a medial marijuana bill to the senate floor.
Senator Fred Mills (R-New Iberia) made the case that a law passed in 1992 would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana; however, there's no legal way for patients to fill that prescription. He says people are truly in need of this.
"We sit here every day and we see people that just want options," Mills told the hearing. "What I'm looking for is to put a mechanism together if that patient and that physician have that discussion and they feel that this is a therapeutic option."
Influential law enforcement groups lined up in opposition.
The Louisiana Sheriff's Association, Louisiana District Attorneys Association, Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police and the Louisiana Attorney General's Office all opposed the bill.
"Marijuana is not a medicine, it is a drug," said Charles Rex Scott, president of the D.A.'s association. "It is classified as 'Schedule One' by the Food and Drug Administration and by the state of Louisiana. The reason for that is because there is a high incidence of abuse."
Michael Ranatza, head of the sheriff's association, says Mills's proposal to partially legalize marijuana would only lead to trouble.
"His best interest and the best intent will only lead to a significant problem for Louisiana's law enforcement," he said. "We believe that the state...legalizing medical marijuana lends itself to our citizens running afoul of the law."