Louisiana governor fighting to protect state's medical marijuana programs

Updated: Jan. 9, 2018 at 8:50 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Gov. John Bel Edwards is fighting for medical marijuana in Louisiana. He sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Tuesday asking him to protect the state's programs from federal prosecution.

The letter comes just days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he was ending an Obama policy that was designed to keep federal authorities from cracking down on legal marijuana.

"Societal views on medical marijuana are shifting rapidly and in Louisiana now the majority of citizens support the legislature's decision to allow medical marijuana," said FOX 8 Political Analyst Mike Sherman.

Sherman says the governor's letter reflects that point of view.

"Today's announcement is less of a decisive one about what will happen and just more uncertainty about how the Trump administration will now interact with states that have legalized medical marijuana and recreational marijuana," said Sherman.

Louisiana's medical marijuana programs are in their infancy. Production should start in March and pharmaceutical grade cannabis could be available to patients as soon as this Summer. LSU's Ag Center partnered with a Las Vegas company to produce the pot. 
"There's always a concern, we're monitoring what's going on at the Federal level, we've been told that the Department of Justice may be issuing a statement more refined to state's with medical cannabis programs," said Hampton Grunewald, LSU AG Center's Associate Vice President for Governmental Relations.

"We're very excited about the program and the opportunities and the research that this is going to allow for us to do are amazing and the Governor getting behind us on this is absolutely a welcome event."

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