Marijuana in Louisiana: latest on decriminalization and simple possession in state

Kyra Watts
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

Louisiana's effort to decriminalize and legalize pot are still underway. The Louisiana Legislature voted to decriminalize the possession for small amounts of pot across the state on Monday. 

The full Senate voted 20-17 in favor of House Bill 652 and now it heads over to Governor John Bel Edwards desk awaiting his signature. 

Here's what we know about the state's current stance with the substance:

Is Marijuana legal in Louisiana?

Recreational marijuana is not legalized in the state. A bill to legalize the sale and use of marijuana died in the House in May.

Peter Robins-Brown of left-leaning Louisiana Progress testified during committee debate that Louisiana is one of only 19 states that haven't either legalized pot or decriminalized it.

House Bill 652 was introduced by State Rep. Cedric Glover (D-Shreveport) and passed by the Louisiana legislature on Monday. The bill removes the possibility of jail or prison time for people caught with small amounts of pot.

How much marijuana can you legally have in Louisiana?

HB652  would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use in Louisiana.

The bill would make possession of 14 grams or less a misdemeanor in all cases and limit fines to $100 with no jail time. The bill was recently passed by the Louisiana legislature and now awaits the signature of Gov. Edwards.

What are the legal penalties of marijuana in Louisiana?

Louisiana's current criminal law states that illegal possession of a controlled substance carries penalties ranging from six months in jail to 20 years in prison. 

According to Louisiana's criminal law, first offenders in possession of 14 grams or less of marijuana is punishable by a fine of up to $300 and/or up to 15 days of in prison. First offenders with more than 14 grams must pay up to $500 and/or serve six months in prison.

Gov. Edwards admits that legalizing marijuana for recreational use is inevitable, but believes that implementation must be cautious moving forward. Edwards has not publicly stated whether or not he will support HB652. 

Does Louisiana have dispensaries?

The state of Louisiana received its first medical marijuana license in 2018. Since then, pharmacies across the state have been able to prescribe medical marijuana.

Access to medical marijuana use in Louisiana was broadened to include any disease or condition determined by doctors licensed in the state. State laws prevent it from being sold in raw or smokeable form.

Reach Kyra Watts by email at kwatts@gannett.com or follow her on Twitter @KyraWatts98.