Baton Rouge Representative Edmond Jordan is seeking to introduce a bill that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana and set up a way to tax the sale of cannabis. Jordan says this legislation could help with the state’s constant budget deficits.
"I couldn't tell you exactly how much revenue it would generate at this time, but I think it would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars right now."
Colorado, the first state to legalize marijuana, pulled in nearly 200-million-dollars in taxes, while Washington State is expected to bring in over 700-million-dollars between 2017 and 2019. California could make upwards of 1.4-billion-dollars by 2021.
Jordan proposes a tax rate similar to cigarettes, which is $1.08 per pack. Jordan says if Louisiana were to legalize pot, it wouldn’t give citizens the right to smoke it whenever they want to.
"I don't think people should smoke marijuana and drive vehicles. I think we should have strict rules related to it to make sure that if people want to partake in it that they do it in the safest manner possible."
Baton Rouge and New Orleans recently approved ordinances that decrease the penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. He says making it legal statewide is the next obvious step.
"I think it's naive to think that people aren't smoking marijuana. It's there, but right now we have all these prohibitions and restrictions on it, we're driving it underground."
Jordan stresses this bill only would address marijuana and not other illegal drugs.