Louisiana lawmakers entertaining idea of legalizing medical marijuana

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A committee of Louisiana lawmakers is entertaining the idea of legalizing marijuana for medical use.

While they debate the issue, one mother said she is moving to Colorado to get the medicinal marijuana she said her daughter needs.

Atasha King is caught between a rock and a hard place. While she loves living in Louisiana she said finding the right medication for her two year old epileptic daughter, Armani, has been a struggle.

"One of her seizure medications made it worse," King said.

King said her daughter suffers from severe epileptic seizures, sometimes as many as 50 a day. Armani takes pharmaceutical drugs but King said they make her drowsy. King has bonded with other mothers on the internet who are going through similar situations. She said she has learned medicinal marijuana is making a difference in their lives.

"I have connected with them through Facebook, and they tell me how the seizures are decreasing, and how they're more alert," King said.

Louisiana legislators passed a law in 1991 that makes it legal for doctors to prescribe marijuana, but it's against the law for patients to fill it. State Representative Dalton Honore, who is also a member of the Criminal Justice Committee, is in favor of a study that would consider the advantages and disadvantages of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.

"This is all I'm asking for is to study and see what affects it has on the body, the mind of people and society in general," Honore said.

Medical marijuana is available in 18 states. Honore said it is time Louisiana at least explore the possibility. Meanwhile, King said she is moving to Colorado, where the drug is legal, so that her daughter can have a shot at a better life.

"It's heartbreaking because I have to leave my family, and me and my husband have to start a while new life to try medical marijuana, which we could have tried here, if it was legal," King said.

In a recent public policy poll more than half of the people who live in Louisiana said they would support changing laws to regulate and tax pot.

State lawmakers are set to discuss reducing penalties for simple marijuana possession in the 2014 legislative session.

Copyright 2014 WAFB. All rights reserved.