marijuana

How do you start a whole new industry from the ground up, especially when that industry is medical marijuana? That’s what state Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain has to figure out. His department has to come up with the rules and regulations for producing and processing the marijuana by January.

“We are responsible all the way from the seed to the delivery of the final chemical product,” Strain told the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday.

24 years after the legislature authorized the prescribing of medical marijuana, the House has approved the Senate’s bill to set up a system for filling those prescriptions.

“So that it can finally be dispensed in a safe, secure, and responsible manner,” explained New Orleans Rep. Helena Moreno, who was handling SB 143 on the House floor for Sen. Fred Mills.

As one might expect, there were objections and counter-arguments. Bossier City Rep. Mike Johnson worried about the state’s image, if the bill passed.

Compassion and Cannabis

Apr 30, 2015

A bill that would set up rules and the system for dispensing medical marijuana advanced out of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee Wednesday. Although law enforcement opposition has derailed similar bills in previous sessions, the difference with Fred Mills’ SB 143 was the support of the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association.

“The move that our sheriffs made was to be compassionate; was to do things to provide relief,” Sheriffs’ Association director Mike Renatza testified, “And to hopefully not harm anyone.”

Renatza said each sheriff examined his own conscience, and asked themselves, “What would you do? What would you do for your son? What would you do for your daughter?”

Sandra Hanna

It's a common fact of life that there is more to people and things than meets the eye.

For example, many people know New Orleans artist Thomas Mann for his jewelry and metal sculptures, but may have been unfamiliar with his interest with food. An accomplished cook and self-styled ovo-lacto-piscean vegetarian, Thomas will get to show off his chops on Food Network's new competitive cooking show "All-Star Academy," which premieres Sunday, March 1 at 8 p.m. He gives us the scoop on his network debut and what audiences can expect to tune in to.

Louisiana Eats! roving reporter Jyl Benson is more than just a longtime contributor to our show. She's also a prolific food writer and, most recently, author of a new cookbook: "Fun, Funky and Fabulous: New Orleans' Casual Restaurant Recipes." Along with collaborator Sam Hanna, Jyl discusses how the book came together, both offering an in depth look at their approach to food photography.

Also, Chris Boucher, industrial hemp advocate, explains the benefits of Cannabis sativa, the plant often demonized as "The Devil's Weed." While hemp and marijuana are both derivatives of Cannabis sativa, hemp contains no THC, the active chemical that gets marijuana users high. Chris explains why attitudes toward hemp turned sour by the 1930s and why he believes, with new research and growing interest in the product, hemp cultivation will soon become a giant industry in the U.S.

We're taking a long look on both sides of the fence on this week's Louisiana Eats!

Laurie Avocado / Wikimedia

Republican Senate candidate Bill Cassidy has picked up an unlikely endorsement, WWL-TV reports. A Louisiana pro-marijuana group is supporting the congressman's bid to unseat Mary Landrieu.

A spokesman for the Louisiana Cannabis Industry Association, Jesse McCormick, says the endorsement comes down to Cassidy’s support for medical marijuana. Mary Landrieu rejected it during a debate before the primary, but Cassidy, a doctor, said he would be open to it.

  The House Criminal Justice committee took up the first of several bills that have been filed to change Louisiana’s marijuana laws on Thursday. New Orleans Representative Austin Badon is the author of a measure to reduce penalties for second-offense and subsequent convictions for marijuana possession. His bill would also prevent simple possession from being counted toward “three strikes” and life imprisonment.

Matthew Benoit / Shutterstock

 

A New Orleans lawmaker's proposal to soften penalties for marijuana possession has been at least temporarily derailed by opposition from Louisiana sheriffs.

Rep. Austin Badon, a Democrat, pulled his bill from consideration Thursday in the House Criminal Justice Committee after testimony by the head of the Louisiana Sheriffs Association.

Association executive director Michael Ranatza said sheriffs fear the bill could lead to decriminalization of marijuana.

Badon says he was caught off-guard by Ranatza's testimony.

With some of the nation’s harshest punishments for marijuana possession and an ultra-conservative Republican governor at the helm, few would expect Louisiana might be the next state to allow folks to light up a joint. Yet one state lawmaker is planning to push to lighten up some pot laws during the upcoming legislative session.

Stuart Seeger / Flickr

Supporters of legalized marijuana made their pitch to state lawmakers, saying it could generate tax dollars, provide a new agricultural crop, shrink the jail population and lessen pain for people with medical ailments.

State health and law enforcement officials outlined their opposition, saying marijuana users have increased risk of health conditions and describing marijuana as a "gateway drug" to more toxic substances.

The testimony Tuesday was part of a study by the House criminal justice committee, upon the request of Rep. Dalton Honoré, a Democrat from Baton Rouge.

A bill aiming to reduce the sentences of marijuana possession in Louisiana advanced Tuesday in the Senate.

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