After a lengthy debate, the House approved a measure to expand the list of conditions medical marijuana can be used to treat. New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno supports the proposal. She says there are families with sick children in Louisiana who need this medication. Moreno says there would still be strict limitations surrounding medical cannabis.
“This would make Louisiana the state with overall the most oversight and restrictions regarding medical marijuana,” Moreno said.
But Bossier City Representative Mike Johnson opposes the legislation. He says he wants to help these kids, but he doesn’t want to give more people in Louisiana access to this schedule I narcotic.
“I see these families. I see them suffering, but I also do not want to open a Pandora’s Box,” Johnson said.
Johnson says many medical professionals do not support this kind of legislation. He quoted the American Epilepsy Society, saying medical cannabis can actually make some conditions worse.
“The use of marijuana oils to treat children with epilepsy can cause ‘severe dystonic reactions and other movement disorders, developmental regression, intractable vomiting, and worsening seizures,’” Johnson said.
Johnson also says there are FDA-approved drugs that treat some of the diseases in the proposal. But Moreno says just because a drug is approved by the FDA, doesn’t make it the best option.
“If you’re talking about overall FDA approval, I think that there’s been about 4,700 recalls from drugs approved by the FDA because of the very severe, long-term side effects that they cause,” Moreno said.
The measure passed on a 62-31 vote but heads back to the Senate for them to approve changes made by the House.