NuggMD, the nation's leading medical marijuana telemedicine platform, today announced it has launched its service in Louisiana. For $179, Louisiana residents can now use NuggMD’s platform to speak with a medical professional and access cannabis to treat qualifying medical conditions.
As in some other states, medical cannabis is legal in Louisiana, but the implementation of the law has been slow, which has created uncertainty and inconsistencies for both businesses and consumers.
Louisiana legislators passed H.B.697 last summer, which allows physicians to recommend cannabis via telemedicine for both follow-up and initial evaluations. However, the state’s medical board refused to change regulations to fully enact the new legislation, citing sections of existing law that it claimed conflicted with the legislative intent of the Act.
Legislators spent months in tense debate with the medical board, attempting to convince it to allow physicians to use telemedicine for cannabis recommendations, as the law stipulates. Upon reaching an impasse, State Rep. Joseph Marino (I) sent a request to Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry objecting to the board's stance and requesting an opinion.
Landry's response was that the law is clear and that a physician may see a patient via telemedicine if they deem it medically appropriate and follow all other guidance. In his opinion, Landry responded by pointing out that:
The distinction between a recommendation and a prescription is valid and was affirmed by case law. Therefore, the prohibition against prescribing certain controlled substances via telemedicine does not apply to the recommendation of marijuana.
The legislature clearly intended to make this distinction when it changed the state's medical marijuana laws to remove the references to "prescribing" cannabis and replace them with "recommending" cannabis.
"Stated succinctly," he wrote, "neither Louisiana's statutory law nor the regulations promulgated by LSBME currently require physicians to conduct an in-person visit prior to recommending therapeutic marijuana to a patient through telemedicine."
Alex Milligan, co-founder and CMO of NuggMD, commented, "Attorney General Landry's clarification is commendable because it finally allows physicians to deliver care to patients in a safe way that eliminates risk from unnecessary exposure to illness and difficult travel."
“It's not uncommon to see regulators push back on bold new legislation, especially in an area as contentious as cannabis. When a regulatory environment is constantly in flux, businesses have to make difficult decisions about how and where to operate in light of these constantly changing directives. This holds true for most any industry, not just cannabis," said Milligan.
NuggMD co-founder and CEO Kim Babazade added, "We chose to wait to offer our platform to physicians in Louisiana until we had complete clarity on this issue. Our physicians and patients are the most important consideration for us, so we strongly focus on compliance for everyone's protection."
NuggMD's platform is available from 8 am until 10 pm local time, seven days a week. No appointment is needed, and patients who are deemed not to qualify for Louisiana’s medical cannabis program won't be charged for their evaluation.
Since its founding in 2015, NuggMD has helped more than 1,000,000 patients access medical marijuana in nearly half of the nation's states.
NuggMD is the nation's leading medical marijuana technology platform, serving patients in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. They've connected over 1,000,000 patients face-to-face with their new medical marijuana doctors via their state-of-the-art telemedicine platform. They believe every human being has the right to explore the benefits of medical cannabis and are fully committed to helping each patient explore every option in their journey to wellness. For further information, visit NuggMD.com.
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