BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed a bill to kick-start and expand Louisiana's medical marijuana program, which has been slow to begin because of regulatory hurdles.

As he signed the new law Thursday, the Democratic governor said the program will have a dramatic effect on Louisiana's families.

The bill by Republican Sen. Fred Mills broadens the program to cover more diseases and makes regulatory changes aimed at getting marijuana, in an oil form, into patients' hands more quickly.

Sheriffs and district attorneys opposed the bill. But lawmakers sided with parents who said their children's medical conditions could be helped with therapeutic marijuana.

Edwards signed the bill as Katie Corkern looked on with her son Connor, who has a rare brain disorder that causes uncontrollable seizures.

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Senate Bill 271: www.legis.la.gov