Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a medical cannabis expansion program into law on Saturday that adds to the list of qualifying conditions that qualify a patient for participating in the program, according to a USA Today Network Friday report.

House Bill 579, which contained the expansions, was first proposed by state Rep. Ted James (D-Baton Rouge).

“It’s something I’m very proud of because this is a medicine I believe can improve the lives of so many people who are suffering,” — James to USA Today Network Friday

James’ bill adds Parkinson’s, glaucoma, severe muscle spasms, chronic pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder to Louisiana‘s existing list of 10 qualifying conditions. Supporters argued that the expansions will help veterans suffering from PTSD and will help curb issues with opioid dependency in the state.

Previously this session, Gov. Edwards signed another MMJ expansions bill — House Bill 672, proposed by Rep. Rodney Lyons (D-Harvey) — that added autism to the qualifying conditions list.

The program previously had covered cancer, Crohn’s disease, immunodeficiency, immune deficiency syndrome, wasting syndrome, epilepsy, seizure, spasticity, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis. 

Louisiana’s medical cannabis program was approved by the legislature in 2016 and is expected to open later this summer. The program does not allow for smokeable products and patients will be required to consume cannabis only as a pill or oil.

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June 18, 2018

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