A long-shot Cannabis legalization bill passed a Louisiana House committee on Tuesday. It is now advancing to the full House, a historic first for the state.
A House committee advanced a proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use. This represents a milestone for the effort to end the state’s prohibition on the drug.
The House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee advanced House Bill 524 by Rep. Richard Nelson, R-Mandeville, on a 7-5 vote Tuesday. Committee members voted after a lively debate, reports The Advocate.
Nelson’s proposal to legalize the drug for recreational use picked up the support of two other Republicans. It also got the votes of four Democrats. District attorneys and sheriffs, who wield a lot of influence at the Louisiana State Capitol, oppose HB 524.
Governor Softens Anti-Legalization Stance
Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards is from a longtime Louisiana law-enforcement family. He opposes recreational legalization. In fact, Edwards has been queried on the subject on an almost monthly basis for years. His disavowal of Cannabis legalization at each month’s question-and-answer session has become something of a tradition.
But, for the first time ever, Edwards seems to be making hopeful noises. This seems to the legalization door open just a crack. The governor, after all, is a politician. He knows a healthy majority of Louisiana residents support legalizing weed.
“As I almost always do, I will take a look at the bill as it arrives on my desk and see what it contains and what amendments have been added to it,” Edwards said. “I’m not going to speculate now on that, but I do have great interest in that bill and what it says, especially if it does make it up to the fourth floor. I’ll take a look at it at that point and then make sure that you all know exactly how I feel about it.”