Police in Louisiana can no longer use cannabis odor as a reason to search homes without a warrant under new laws that took effect August 1, KSLA reports. The new rules also protect state employees from negative employment consequences if they test positive for THC and have a physician’s recommendation to use medical cannabis. 

Additionally, August 1 marked the first day that the state’s medical cannabis program is under the purview of the state Department of Health instead of the Department of Agriculture and Forestry.  

Another bill expanding which health professionals can recommend medical cannabis also took effect on the first, along with a measure that provides immunity for out-of-state medical cannabis patients in possession of cannabis in Louisiana.     

The reforms come as medical cannabis patient registrations in Louisiana rose 600% this year compared to 2021. The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy said in April that more than 29,000 patients made purchases in the first quarter of 2022, a 60% increase from the last quarter of 2021.  

In a statement, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano called the new laws “common sense reforms” that “provide further and sorely needed protections and freedoms for patients and others.”  

Another law legalizing paraphernalia used by medical cannabis patients “solely used or intended” for medical cannabis also took effect on Monday, protecting patients who predominately use flower, which was approved for the medical cannabis program last year.