While medicinal cannabis has been legal in Louisiana for nearly two years, it can only be prescribed for a very specific list of conditions listed in state guidelines. Louisiana House Bill 627 would expand that list to also include autism...
Louisiana HB 627, authored by state Rep. Rodney Lyons, is heading to committee this week and if passed would make medicinal cannabis a treatment option for children and adults diagnosed with autism. As it stands, the only conditions listed in Louisiana guidelines as being legally treatable with medicinal cannabis are cancer, HIV/AIDS, Cachexia or wasting syndrome, seizure disorders, epilepsy, spasticity, Crohn's disease, muscular dystrophy, and multiple sclerosis.
Should the bill pass, the new version of the state's medicinal cannabis treatment guidelines will add the following to that list: "Any of the following conditions associated with autism spectrum disorder: Repetitive or self-stimulatory behavior of such severity that the physical health of the person with autism is jeopardized, avoidance of others or inability to communicate of such severity that the physical health of the person with autism is jeopardized, self-injuring behavior, physically aggressive or destructive behavior."
Advocates will be gathering tomorrow at the Louisiana State Capital. Among others, Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism will be testifying on behalf of the bill. They say, "We will be telling the raw stories of why our loved ones need this safe and effective medicine. We are asking our government for help. If Louisiana approves autism as a qualifying condition it will be the sixth state to do so."
Ultimately, physicians, and not politicians, should be the ones making decisions on what treatments options are acceptable for their patients. But this bill is a step forward and Rep. Lyons, as well as all those testifying and supporting this bill, should be recognized for their dedication to helping patients have access to desperately needed treatment options.