NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - More people across Louisiana will soon have access to medical marijuana. The Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners agreed to eliminate the patient limit for physicians and lifted some restrictions.
"Right now, as it stands, there's a 100 patient limit. We're considering whether we should increase that limit or even have a limit at all," State Board President Christy Valentine said.
After listening to a number of speakers voice their concerns about the cap, the board voted 8 to 1 in favor of eliminating the restriction.
“I’m entitled to this, and limitations that are placed on me, they get in the way of my statutorily granted rights. They get in the way of my constitutionally granted rights between myself and my physician,” said Jacob Irving, a medical marijuana patient.
“I registered my first 100 patients within two weeks of opening my clinic. I currently have a waiting list of over 700 patients,” Dr. Victor Chou said. “I absolutely do believe that the 100-patient limit is stifling patient access to this program.”
In a tighter passage, board members voted five to four in eliminating the rule that patients would have to return to their doctor every 90 days to continue receiving recommendations for medical marijuana.
"I would actually go as far to say I may be one of the hardest working people with cerebral palsy that you might meet in your lifetime. I work a lot, and it's inconvenient for me just as a young professional to be mandated to go in every 90 days," Irving said.
"We do recognize that it's important for physicians and patients to have a relationship where they can determine how frequent that patient should come in. Just really respecting the the doctor patient relationship," Valentine said.
So far, only a few dozen doctors in the state are approved to recommend medical marijuana to patients.
“We, as a board recognize its importance, and we really want to make sure that we’re following the Louisiana law and making every option available to patients across the state,” Valentine said.