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Bill Filed That Would Decriminalize Marijuana in Louisiana



LOUISIANA – Earlier this week we told you about a new survey done on attitudes toward marijuana in Louisiana. The results of that survey showed that more and more Louisiana residents are getting comfortable with the idea of legalized marijuana. But hold on, we are a long way from residents being able to use the substance for recreational use.

Before that can happen marijuana will have to be decriminalized and now there has been a measure introduced for consideration in the state legislature that would do just that.

Okay, the measure introduced by New Orleans area Representative Candace Newell would only decriminalize marijuana possession. And that legislation would only go into effect following more significant legislation concerning regulation and taxation of the drug.

The measure would not affect the criminal aspects of driving while under the influence of marijuana and employers would still be allowed to have a “drug-free” workplace policy at their place of business.

Supporters of the measure say it will reduce arrests for possession and actually might even save the state money because fewer people will be locked up because they had pot on their person. Exactly how much pot a person can have in their possession will likely be debated while the measure is being considered.

Newell told the Louisiana Radio Network that pressure from local governments has prevented a lot of marijuana legislation from being considered by lawmakers.

The localities make too much money. They make money off of the arrest and the repossession of cars and property

Lawmakers will consider this measure when they convene for the upcoming legislative session which will be gaveled into order on April 12th.

Personally, I think Louisiana will legalize recreational marijuana in the next five to ten years. The tax revenue generated from marijuana could certainly add millions of dollars to the state’s coffers. I just don’t see our “hands-in-our-pockets-all-the-time” legislature passing up a chance to collect millions of dollars in taxes that they aren’t getting right now.

It will be interesting to see how Louisiana’s very powerful alcohol lobby reacts to this potential new competitor for disposable income. I am guessing it will be a fight unless brewers can figure out a way to add the active ingredients in marijuana to their beverages.