How to open a Dispensary in Louisiana

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Louisiana’s medical cannabis program was first signed in 2015 and expanded in 2016, as more qualifying conditions were added to the list. The state marijuana program is being monitored by the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy, which is authorized to issue licenses to no more than ten existing pharmacies.

As a result, new marijuana entrepreneurs must wait for further changes in the legislation before making their move. Until a possible expansion of the program is viable, all marijuana distribution and handling will be done by licensed pharmacies. Below are the requirements for operating a medical marijuana dispensary in Louisiana.

When was cannabis made legal

On June 29, 2015, then-governor Bobby Jindal signed the re-enaction of the 1991 Alison Neustrom Act via bill SB 143.

This allowed Louisiana’s physicians to prescribe medical marijuana to qualifying patients. At that time, only 3 conditions were considered as qualifying for medical marijuana possession: spastic quadriplegia, cancer, and glaucoma.

A bill expanding the medical marijuana program was voted for in May of 2016, and more conditions were added to the list of medical conditions that garnered the legal use of marijuana. The goal of this bill was to speed up distribution and provide patients with quicker access to medicine.

The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy regulates the dispensary program, which is currently applicable only to existing pharmacies – not marijuana businesses. These are the only types of businesses allowed to dispense medical marijuana, which will be grown by a single cultivator statewide. The Louisiana State University and Southern University have the first right of refusal to collaboratively or separately grow medical marijuana.

How many dispensaries are there currently in the state

Currently, there are no dispensaries in this state. Instead, marijuana is distributed by licensed pharmacies. The state has limited the number of authorized pharmacies to 10.

How much money is there in the dispensary market

Medical sales are expected to reach $27,000,000 by the year 2021.

License requirements
License requirements – Image by

License requirements

Although there is a sanctioned statute (SB 271) that allows ten (10) pharmacies to distribute medical cannabis and only one (1) cultivation center to exist, the situation for prospective cannabis entrepreneurs is severely hindered due to the severe restrictions imposed by the regulations.

With a framework for medical marijuana having only passed only a year ago, there is still great confusion regarding the specifics. For example, many legislators had trouble understanding how to regulate a product that is still illegal under federal law.

Although it is difficult to legally sell marijuana in Louisiana, the application process attracted dozens of applicants who were interested in expanding their business into the marijuana industry. Malcolm Broussard, the executive director of the state’s Board of Pharmacy, testified that the board anticipates “multiple competitive applications” for each of the potential pharmacies.

Financial requirements

Currently, interested business people will not be able to open a marijuana business in Louisiana. However, pharmacists may dispense marijuana grown at state universities. Those wishing to prescribe medical marijuana in Louisiana must pay a $5,000 application fee in addition to a $150 licensing fee to become one of 10 marijuana pharmacists in the state. The $5,000 application fee is non-refundable and is only applied to marijuana pharmacies, not regular drug stores.

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Consulting Companies

Looking to stay updated on new medical marijuana dispensary laws in Louisiana? These marijuana consulting companies can help you stay up-to-date on Louisiana state licensing requirements.

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