“We’ve come a long way,” a year of medical marijuana sales

A year after LA Medical Marijuana passed

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - It has been a year since the first sale of medical marijuana in Louisiana.

In the last 12 months, there have been changes.

“It seems like a long time ago. It was a long struggle to get there but hey we’ve been operating for over a year and a lot has changed during that time,” said Pharmacist Ruston Henry.

Last year, doctors like Penny Walker, M.D. had to follow several requirements, "I had to get fingerprinted by the FBI. I had to take a test and get a 100 percent on the test."

Now any Louisiana doctor in good standing can make a recommendation for any condition they consider debilitating. Previously, doctors could recommend the drug to treat one of 16 conditions.

“My numbers have increased from two days a week where I was working to five days a week where I’m working,” Dr. Walker said.

The state’s medical marijuana grower Wellcana slash prices on the drugs it sells to pharmacies. The price cut comes after lawmakers expanded uses for medical marijuana allowing doctors to recommend the drug to any patient, they think it might help.

“Just like any new industry,” Henry said, “after more competition comes in place, you have more people in the marketplace and some of the other instability has stabilized then the prices tend to go down.”

Henry says while the state has improved within the year, he and Walker both say more needs to be done.

“The patients are looking for more products, different products,” Walker said. “Some of them are rather surprised that as of now the only form is a tincture.”

Another thing Walker and Henry would like to change is the stigma around medical marijuana. They say it is preventing people from seeking treatment.

“We don’t want people suffering needlessly because of some misinformation on some conceptions that aren’t true,” Henry said.

He says the state has done a lot in the last year and he can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

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