Starting on Monday, August 1, police in Louisiana are not allowed to use the odor of marijuana as probable cause to search a person’s home without a warrant. On the other side of the coin, smoking or vaping marijuana in a vehicle will be illegal, reports KTAL.
Those are just two of the laws passed in this year’s Louisiana Legislative session that are set to go into effect on August 1 related to the regulation of marijuana in the state. Lawmakers also included employment protections for state workers who are medical marijuana patients,
Act 473 prohibits police from using the smell of marijuana coming from a person’s home as probable cause for a search without a warrant.
Act 478 Prohibits Smoking/Vaping In Vehicles
The number of road fatalities in Louisiana increased in 2021. That may be what spurred lawmakers to support the passage of Act 478. The act prohibits smoking or vaping Cannabis in vehicles while on state highways and roadways.
Drivers who violate this law will receive fines and citations for a non-moving violation.. But it will not affect their driving record.
Act 651 shields state employees or prospective employees who use physician-authorized medical marijuana from employment negative employment consequences based solely on a positive drug test for marijuana or marijuana component. The law does not prohibit employers from taking negative employment action against employees who use or are impaired while on the job, or those whose primary responsibility is operating or maintaining state vehicles.
Act 651 also does not apply to state employees who work in emergency medical services, law enforcement, public safety, firefighters, or those who work for the horse racing commission.
Regulatory Control Spread Across State Agencies
Act 491 and Act 492 spread regulatory control of medical Cannabis across multiple state agencies. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry previously regulated the cultivation of medical marijuana. The new law grants duties to the Louisiana Department of Health, the Department of Revenue, and the Board of Pharmacy.
The Department of Health gained the authority to collect fees from contractors involved in medical Cannabis production through Act 492.
Act 137 doesn’t relate to Cannabis specifically. It excludes fentanyl test strips from “drug paraphernalia”.
Here’s What’s Changing, By Act Number
- 473 – Marijuana odor not probably cause for home search.
- 478 – Prohibits smoking, vaping marijuana in vehicles.
- 491 – Includes more state agencies in the production, medical regulation and licensure for medical marijuana.
- 492 – Provides regulatory control of medical marijuana production to the LDH.
- 651 – Shields state employees who are medical marijuana patients from certain punitive actions.
These new laws are in addition to Act 247, passed in 2021. That legislation decriminalized possession of up to 14 grams of marijuana, imposing fines as opposed to jail time.
The city councils of New Orleans and Shreveport also passed ordinances supporting the new state law.