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Louisiana Marijuana Decrim Bill Heads To Governor’s Desk

The bill would set a maximum $100 fine for half an ounce or less of Cannabis, no matter how many times you get caught

Brent Lewin / Bloomberg

A bill decriminalizing marijuana in Louisiana is on its way to the governor’s desk. It narrowly passed the state senate on Monday, reports WWL.

Lawmakers approved on a 20-17 vote the bill to eliminate jail time for possession of small amounts of Cannabis. House Bill 652, sponsored by Rep. Cedric Glover (D-Shreveport), would only allow a $100 fine and a misdemeanor summons for up to half an ounce. That remains true regardless of how many times the person has been cited.

Jay Luneau, an Alexandria Democrat, said Louisiana wastes money arresting people for pot, and decriminalization makes more sense. He added that decrim “a common sense approach.”

This session’s debate shows just how much opposition to marijuana has eased — particularly among younger, newer legislators. This year’s bill passed with bipartisan support.

It comes just six years after lawmakers created a framework for dispensing medical marijuana. The majority-Republican Legislature has expanded the program nearly every year since then.

Lawmakers broadened the medical marijuana program this session to allow patients to use smokable Cannabis flowers.

Under current Louisiana law, first-time offenders are subject to a $300 fine and up to 15 days in jail, with subsequent violations getting harsher punishments. 

Edwards has not said if he would sign the decrim bill. He has raised concerns about other legalization efforts in the past.

Because the bill narrowly passed in the senate, if Edwards does decide to veto it, there is very little possibility of a veto-proof majority overriding him.