- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - An effort to expand Louisiana’s medical marijuana law to cover more diseases has fallen one vote short in the state Senate.

Supporters gave impassioned pleas Tuesday about children with seizure disorders and others with severe illnesses who could benefit from medical marijuana. Opponents were equally passionate, saying the bill was a gateway to legalized recreational marijuana and would encourage drug use.

Senators voted 19-16 for the proposal from Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks. It needed 20 votes to pass. Mills is expected to try the bill again.

Louisiana hasn’t yet started its medical marijuana program, which will eventually get medical-grade pot to people suffering from cancer, glaucoma and a severe form of cerebral palsy. Mills wants to add seizure disorders, HIV, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and a handful of other diseases.

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