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Louisiana’s Marijuana Laws: What has changed?

Law Office of Ernest Bauer JR LLC > Crime lawyer  > Louisiana’s Marijuana Laws: What has changed?

Louisiana’s Marijuana Laws: What has changed?

Louisiana’s Marijuana Laws: What has changed?

Louisiana was the nation’s incarceration capital until not too long ago. Governor Edwards got the state as close to legalizing cannabis use as possible. The Louisiana Legislature passed a limited decriminalization bill for small amounts of marijuana, and it also made significant progress towards legalization and expanded the medical marijuana program.

Welcome Revisions to Cannabis Laws In Louisiana

Governor John Bel Edwards signed HB 652. The penalty for possessing marijuana was reduced to a fine-only offense that could be enforced with a summons instead of an arrest. Although the legislature has reduced some penalties over time, others remained shockingly severe and tore apart families.

The year 2021 followed. House Bill 699, which would have legalized recreational marijuana in Louisiana in 2021, was not passed by the House. In June 2021, A fine of up $100 is possible. It must have saved many people from imprisonment for small amounts of marijuana. Even for those who couldn’t pay, the court asked for installments of payments or ordered community service.

a) Individuals found with more than 14 grams of marijuana will still be subject to severe penalties, just like before. The harsh penalties for proven intent to sell or distribute cannabis were not eliminated by HB 652.

b) In August 2021, New Orleans City Council approved 3 ordinances allowing anyone who received a summons for marijuana possession to have it immediately forgotten. No action was required from either the ticketed person or the court. The estimated number of marijuana possession convictions has been reduced to around 10,000, with any pending penalties.

c) However, the Smoke-Free Air Act still makes it a criminal offense to smoke marijuana in public.

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Louisiana’s Medical Marijuana Law

Louisiana’s medical cannabis law prohibited both inhalation and flower cannabis in the past. It was discovered that prohibiting cannabis would increase the cost of medical marijuana, making it unaffordable for most low-income patients as well as those with middle incomes. This would also make many state-owned cannabis businesses financially ineligible. In June 2021, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the Louisiana Senate Bill 391 into Law. It became effective on January 1, 2022.

Prior to this, Louisiana’s qualifying conditions list was found to be too restrictive in 2020. This was rectified by Gov. John Bel Edwards signed HB819. This law allows doctors and nurses to recommend medical cannabis for any medical condition they “deem debilitating to an individual patient” and are competent to treat. Several other conditions were added to the list, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, traumatic brain injuries, ALS, and chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia/sickle cell anemia.

Final Word

In Louisiana, there has been a limited program for medical marijuana since 2020. Doctors may recommend cannabis to treat any condition, as there are currently nine dispensaries spread over nine regions of Louisiana. Only two entities have the licenses necessary to grow and produce cannabis in the state. The Louisiana State University’s Agricultural Center is one, while the Southern University’s Agricultural Center is the other. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry supervises both of them, but the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy licenses the dispensaries.

Additionally, a person found to have marijuana up to 14 grams will only face a $100 penalty instead of being sent to jail. Patients are also allowed to use whole-plant cannabis flowers. Governor Edwards got the state as close to legalizing cannabis use as possible. Edwards believes that legalization is possible, but it is unlikely to occur in his state.

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For a free initial phone consultation with an experienced Louisiana attorney, call me today at 504-610-5645, or fill out the contact form. I return all messages promptly.

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