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Louisiana Lawmakers Criticize Marijuana Pharmacy Selection

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As Louisiana's pharmacy board started awarding the permits to dispense medical marijuana, state lawmakers are criticizing the process as unfair to small, locally-owned pharmacists.

Several Democrats on the House health committee on Tuesday questioned the competitive process used to award the potentially lucrative permits. They say the panel should have stalled its selection while lawmakers considered changing some rules governing the dispensing pharmacies.

Louisiana's medical marijuana program is just getting organized, with plans to have the product available to patients by the summer. When they created the program, lawmakers capped the number of dispensing pharmacies at 10.

Media outlets reported that five of those pharmacies were selected Tuesday, including in the New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette regions.

The program is tightly-regulated with a limited list of medical conditions eligible.