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Clancy: Lawmakers are finally listening on medical marijuana

Louisiana lawmakers are taking a close look at laws that loosen restrictions on medical and recreational marijuana.

NEW ORLEANS — It’s not surprising that Louisiana followed other states in legalizing medical marijuana, or that bills to legalize recreational pot are gaining traction in Baton Rouge. What is surprising is how many conservative lawmakers now support looser restrictions on both forms of marijuana.

The chances of legalizing recreational pot this year remain slim, but yesterday the Louisiana House overwhelmingly passed a bill to allow smokable medical marijuana. That bill, by Republican Representative Tanner Magee, is not an outlier. Arkansas and Mississippi already allow smokable medical cannabis. It’s cheaper and more readily available.

More and more doctors recommend medical cannabis for qualifying patients. In a recent poll, roughly two-thirds of Louisiana voters favored loosening marijuana laws. Now, it appears, lawmakers are listening.