Medical marijuana patients’ enthusiasm was clearly high when they flocked to the nine cannabis dispensaries in Louisiana, the first time when smokable, raw cannabis became available in these drugstores.
As more and more states are legalizing cannabis and removing restrictions on its use, medical patients are increasingly happy about the easy access to the psychoactive product that can relieve pain.
The modified law that allowed the use of raw cannabis came into effect on Monday. Until then, cannabis was available only in the form of edible gummies and tinctures.
The two legal growers of the state, namely LSU AgCenter and Southern AgCenter, who functioned together with their private partners, were restricted to producing and marketing cannabis only in that form.
John Davis, president of Good Day Farm, the marijuana growing company, which is the private partner of LSU AgCenter, expressed his excitement over the turn of events. He said that the day was as exciting as the day in August 2019, when cannabis products became available for the first time.
The queue was long in front of most of the nine dispensaries, though many patients were not happy about the price the companies charged for the raw flower. Corbet King, who came to purchase the flower at Delta MedMar dispensary in West Monroe, had driven one hour from the town of Wisner to reach the place.
Patients are generally enthusiastic about the product because it works faster. While gummies may take about an hour to show the result, the flower product shows its result in less than 10 minutes.
King needed marijuana to treat the pain he had from the injuries sustained on his back and neck from a car accident, and also for the bipolar disorder he suffered from. He was happy to get the new medicine, but like many others, disappointed with the cost.
He complained that the price was double that of what it cost to buy illegal weed on the streets. Patients are, in general, confused, because, when authorities decided to legalize the use of raw flower product, one of the claims was that the product would be cheap since it did not have to undergo any processing.
The new price has shown that the claim could not be sustained, and according to King, patients felt that they were told a lie.
From a price sheet that USA Today Network managed to get from two patients, it is seen that Delta MedMar charges $440 to $480 for an ounce of raw flower product, an amount that is enough to make 84 pre-rolled CBD cigarettes.
The price of raw flower product varies significantly within the state itself, being $35 for 1/8th of an ounce in the city of Lake Charles, $60 for the same amount in West Monroe, and $80 in the city of New Orleans.
USA Today Network could not obtain the wholesale price list either from Good Day Farm or from Ilera Holistic Healthcare. However, according to Davis, growers remain focused on ensuring that their pricing is on par with that of companies in other states.
He agreed that people would start relying on illegal markets if the price was not controlled to be within 20% of that of the black-market price.
Tanner Magee, the Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, who is the pro-tem speaker of the house as well, was the one who had sponsored the law for expanding the medical marijuana program.
He did express concern about the high price of the product, because, according to him, one of the reasons for expanding the legislation was to make the product more affordable and easily accessible.