elsa-olofsson-_FVNLQo6WSM-unsplash marijuana.jpg

The Louisiana Legislature gave final passage Monday to a bill that calls for eliminating the possibility of jail time for possession of marijuana for personal use.

House Bill 652 by Rep. Cedric Glover, a Shreveport Democrat, reduces the maximum fine for possessing up to 14 grams of marijuana from $300 to $100. Unlike under current law, the penalties would not increase for subsequent offenses and there would be no possibility for a felony conviction.

Additional penalties for subsequent convictions for having larger amounts still would apply.

Sen. Jay Luneau, the Alexandria Democrat who presented the bill in his chamber, said the current law can lead to putting people in jail who don’t need to be there, which he described as a waste of the taxpayers’ money.

“There are people in jail because they can’t pay their fines,” he said.

Sen. Bodi White, R-Central, warned against voting for the bill, which he said is a step toward full legalization.

“We’re going to go to $100 [fines],” White said. “Next year, it’ll be $50. The next year, it’ll be 50 cents.”

The Senate sent the bill to the governor with a 20-17 vote, the bare majority needed for passage.

Legislators this year also have agreed to add smokeable marijuana to the state’s medical cannabis program in House Bill 391. The House debated legalizing marijuana for recreational use but decided not to advance those proposals.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.