A medical marijuana pharmacy is coming to Lafayette. The State Pharmacy Board approved its license Tuesday afternoon.
The Apothecary Shoppe received the license for the Acadia Region, which covers most of Acadiana. Green Leaf Dispensary in Houma got the license for the Teche Region, which covers St. Mary Parish. Only one company, Medicis of Lake Charles, applied for the Southwest license, which covers Jeff Davis Parish.
While marijuana is legal for medicinal use, hurdles remain for patients who want to use the the drug for treatment. That’s why one group of veterans is prepared to keep pushing lawmakers to move forward until that day comes.
Military veteran Tony Landry founded Louisiana Veterans For Medical Cannabis. His advocacy for medical marijuana dates back decades to an injury he suffered during his service.
"Within three years of getting out of the military, I had two back surgeries and started with 20 years of Opiate use and the addiction, and everything that comes with it," said Landry.
Eventually, Landry started using a substance called Cannabinoid oil, or CBD oil, for his chronic pain.
"Which is legal in all 50 states. After using it for a while, I realized wasn’t taking Ibuprofen, Aspirin, anything like that anymore," said Landry.
He said the movement is about more than getting treatment for veterans and others looking for relief from health issues. For Landry and his group, the movement is also about breaking down the stigma marijuana carries.
"We’re trying to get high, or we want some drugs, but no. No, we don’t want the drugs. We want a safe alternative to those drugs," said Landry.
Other veterans are also pleased with the progress in the state so far.
"We have managed to get the Autism bill out of the full house, and it will be going to the Senate soon. We have managed to get chronic pain and PTSD added to the list of conditions out of the House," said Brian Greer, Senior Advocate, Louisiana Veterans for Medical Cannabis.
But Landry, Greer and their supporters want to make sure medical marijuana is available to everyone who they feel needs it.
"I’m just tired of the Vets always being overlooked. They give us a huge service. They come home, they are forgotten. Filling them with 40 different types of Opiates is actually only making the situation worse," said Annette O’Connor, Executive Member of Louisiana Veterans for Medical Cannabis.
"Call your senators, let them know that you support this. If you don’t support it, let them know that as well, but let them know your opinion on this issue and do your homework," said Greer.