Louisiana Wants To Legalize Smokable Marijuana
A new cannabis bill would allow patients in Louisiana to be able to legally smoke medicinal cannabis. This particular bill is soon to make its way to the governor’s desk. While this is happening a different piece of legislation is in place as well. This separate bill would decriminalize low-level possession of recreational cannabis. As well this bill is also pending definitive action in the legislature.
The House of Representatives gave final consent to the medical flower bill in a 76-17 victory. The chamber approved a prior version of this bill back in May. Yet the Senate revised it, which means House legislators needed to approve it. This approval is a must in order to send it to Gov. John Bel Edwards.
It would signify a notable development of the state’s existing cannabis program if made into law. As it stands, patients are allowed to vaporize cannabis products such as a “metered-dose inhaler,”. However, they are not allowed to obtain regular buds, and smoking is not permitted.
A companion House-passed proposal to tax medical cannabis is moving through the Senate. The body approved a floor motion this past week. This was done to expand the state’s general sales tax and direct the generated revenue to infrastructure projects and utilities. However, it was recommitted to the committee prior to a final vote on the bill that was held. This past Wednesday, the chambers Finance Committee passed a revised version of the legislation and returned it to the floor.
The Next Step For Cannabis Legislation In Louisiana
At the same time, the Senate is also set to soon take up a separate decriminalization proposal. This particular bill would make it so possession of up to half an ounce of cannabis would be condemned by a $100 fine. As well there would be no feat of jail time. The House passed the measure by a vote of 67-25 back in May.
These developments come weeks after an effort to more broadly legalize marijuana in the state. Which resulted in the bill stalling in the House.
“House Bill 652 seeks to address a problem that I think many of us have recognized over the years,” Rep. Cedric Glover (D) sponsor of the successful decriminalization measure, said at a committee hearing last week, adding that while opinions on full marijuana legalization vary, there’s widespread acceptance that low-level possession should not lead to incarceration or felony convictions.
Edwards shared some thoughts in a radio interview this past month. He went on to say that while full marijuana legalization hit a roadblock this year, he does believe it “is going to happen in Louisiana eventually.”
He also spoke about the decriminalization and medical cannabis flower bills as examples of reform’s general momentum.
The actions on different cannabis-related legislation arrive as a new info surface. A poll that was recently taken displays that components in some of the most firmly Republican districts. Mainly in the state around the country that supports legalizing marijuana.
Final Thoughts On Smokable Cannabis In Louisiana
When it comes to legalizing marijuana, advocates typically anticipated opposition from Edwards. He has frequently shown resistance to the reform which he did state back in April. Which he said that he has “great interest” in the legalization bill, and he promised to take a stern overview of its various provisions.
Back in 2021, the legislature expanded the state’s medical marijuana program. This was done by passing a bill that allows doctors to recommend cannabis to patients. It would be for any debilitating condition that they believe fit instead of from the limited list of maladies that are used under current law.
Edwards signed the measure in June 2020 and it took effect weeks later.
Two other recent polls—including one personally commissioned by a top Republican lawmaker—have found that a majority of voters are in favor of legalizing cannabis for adult use.
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