Louisiana Legislators To Discuss Marijuana Legalization
LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL) — After Colorado’s marijuana dispensaries generated $5 million during the state’s first week allowing recreational marijuana purchases, the House Criminal Justice Committee will meet Jan. 21 to study the legalization of marijuana in Louisiana.
Democratic state Rep. Dalton Honoré of Baton Rouge called the meeting, which will study the feasibility and economic impact of legalizing marijuana in Louisiana — both for medical and recreational purposes.
A majority of Louisianians — 53 percent of those surveyed last summer — said they support taxing and regulating marijuana for those over 21.
There’s currently no legalization legislation pending review for the upcoming session, which convenes March 10. But state Rep. Austin Badon, D-New Orleans, is giving another shot at legislation that would reduce penalties for marijuana possession.
Badon sponsored a bill in 2013 that passed 54-38 in the House but failed 24-11 in the Senate. A two-thirds vote was required to pass it through the Senate, which was considering the bill late in the session.
This year’s House Bill 14 will retain the same stipulations as last year’s legislation.
Second-time possession convictions would be reduced from a maximum fine of $2,000 to $500 and maximum prison time from five years to two. For third-time convictions, the current 20-year maximum prison sentence would be reduced to five, and fourth convictions would have limited imprisonment to eight years. Both of those penalties would have topped fines at $2,000.