- Associated Press - Thursday, January 23, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Gov. Bobby Jindal says he supports making medical marijuana available in Louisiana as long as it is tightly controlled.

“I continue to be opposed to legalization of marijuana,” Jindal said as he fielded questions Wednesday during an event at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. “When it comes to medical marijuana … if there is a legitimate medical need, I’d certainly be open to making it available under very strict supervision for patients that would benefit from that.”

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1dx76iC) Jindal offered a few details on how legislators can make the proposal acceptable for him, saying the marijuana use must be under a doctor’s care and tightly controlled to prohibit abuse.

Medical marijuana advocates embraced the fact that Jindal has an open mind on the issue.

“That’s huge,” said Marjorie Esman, executive director for the Louisiana Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Louisiana has a law on the books allowing medical marijuana. But Esman said the law is unusable, making it impossible for doctors to write a prescription for marijuana.

Louisiana’s medical marijuana law was passed in June 1991. The statute calls for patients suffering from glaucoma, chemotherapy treatments and spastic quadriplegia to receive marijuana for therapeutic use. The statute hinged on the secretary of health and hospitals promulgating rules and regulations by Jan. 1, 1992. Apparently, those rules and regulations never materialized.

“There’s no way you can walk into a pharmacy and get what your doctor’s prescribed,” Esman said.

Jindal’s comments came a day after a standing room only committee hearing at the Capitol on legalizing marijuana. Discussions touched on fixing the medical marijuana law and once again trying to soften the penalties for marijuana possession.

State Rep. Dalton Honoré, D-Baton Rouge, said marijuana is a hot topic because the federal government recently elected to sit on the sidelines and let states decide how the drug should be handled within their own borders.

Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia have legalized, decriminalized or reduced sentences involving marijuana possession.

Medical marijuana is legal in Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New Mexico. It is legal and simple possession of marijuana has been decriminalized in Alaska, California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com