Louisiana Lawmakers To Discuss Marijuana Legalization

Mardi GrasOn January 21st, Louisiana’s House Committee for Administration Of Criminal Justice will meet to discuss marijuana legalization in the Bayou State. A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP) in August of 2013 shows that 65% of Louisiana residents support legalizing marijuana for medical purposes and 64% of respondents also opposed current Louisiana law which allows life sentences for marijuana possession if the defendant has a prior felony record. Yes, it is possible here in Louisiana to kill someone while drunk driving and get out in just a couple of years, but then get a life sentence for selling a bag of marijuana. Here’s a couple other sample questions from the poll which shows that even while Louisiana is a very conservative state, not everyone here has lost their minds when it comes to the failed war on drugs – cannabis specifically.

Would you be more or less likely to vote for a
candidate for office if he or she voted to reduce
penalties for the possession of marijuana?
More likely……………………………………………….49%
Less likely……………………………………………….32%
Doesn’t make a difference…………………………13%
Not sure………………………………………………….6%



Nearly half of voters would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supported lesser penalties for possession. Why? Possibly because of how laid back Louisiana is when it comes to alcohol use, especially in the Catholic-dominated southern part of the state where it isn’t hard to find a drive-thru daiquiri stand and you can buy a bottle of Jack Daniels or a case of Bud Light in almost any gas station. Even a wide receiver for the Saints can get a DWI and bail out on a $1,150 bond, but marijuana? You can get 6 months for first offense and a $500 fine. A first offense DWI? 2 days to 6 months, but many offenders have the option of pleading guilty in exchange for 48 hours of community service. How about vehicular homicide while driving drunk? Only a 3 to 5 year minimum. So it would make sense that 53% of people would show support for legalized and regulated marijuana in Louisiana.

Two states — Colorado and Washington —
recently changed their laws to allow marijuana
to be regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol,
for legal use by adults age 21 and older. Would
you support or oppose changing Louisiana law
to regulate and tax marijuana, with stricter
regulations than for alcohol?
Support…………………………………………………..53%
Oppose…………………………………………………..37%
Not sure………………………………………………….10%

Now this is conservative Louisiana we’re talking about, not more liberal states like California or Washington. When asked to identify their political views, 80% of the respondents stated either “conservative” or “very conservative”.

Very conservative…………………………………….36%
Conservative……………………………………………44%
Liberal…………………………………………………….17%
Very liberal………………………………………………3%
Last year, a bill to reduce the maximum penalty for marijuana possession squeaked through the House of Representatives and fell two votes short of the required two-thirds majority required to begin debate in the Senate. After seeing the potential tax revenue to be garnered by legalized pot in Colorado and the savings on reduced incarcerations ($2.2 million in 2014 estimated) just from reducing the penalties, perhaps this year we will see a more vigorous debate that moves us towards legalization. Louisiana currently has the highest incarceration rate in the entire world as well as the largest number of individuals (429) serving life without parole for non-violent crimes which include distribution or possession of marijuana. The real question is, which will prevail? Common sense and fiscal responsibility, or the $182 million dollar prison industry which currently has a chokehold on the state?



If you want to help change this, please follow this link to find contact information for members of the House Committee for Administration Of Criminal Justice and let them know you support legalizing or even just decriminalizing marijuana in Louisiana. Don’t forget to mention the money that could be made off legalization – these are Louisiana politicians after all.

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  • New Orleans own

    More free market medical and recreational 18 and over! Taxation and regulation on a state level

    • BZ

      I agree. Here are some weird facts though: Pot sales are already technically taxable — they used to go after dealers on IRS violations. As for regulation, a regulation sets the conditions under which something is not permitted, therefore, pot is regulated 100% right now. Legalization is deregulation, because it expands the permissible circumstances.

      • disqus_ayvQwhvS6h

        No, no sir. The quality is a variable. Regulation protects the consumer, not just the dealer, who would likely be put out of a job and then have to tend bar. The consumer would have access to an open scheduled, convenient, high availability of a quality product, and in multiple forms for easy consumption. Facts have a mind of their own when you just leave them lying around. Legalizing pot isn’t anti-dealer, you just want dealers held in high regard. Nobody’s gonna wanna purchase from Shady Jane in the park when they can get NOLA Cannabis from what appears to be a drive thru? IS THAT A DRIVE THRU?

      • Fiberton

        People could pick up a Drink with no straw :). A bag of pot and go home and toast out to old MTV videos. No harm no foul. I am all for taxing Pot. I personally get sick if I smoke pot so not for me. I assume I am merely allergic.

      • knightprawler

        Some people are Alergic,I know someone that can not smoke it made them sick through up when they was young they hadn’t touch it since.

      • disqus_ayvQwhvS6h

        Wonderful story, but I’m also allergic to bullets and people can still buy those legally.

  • $71171541

    So was it progressive when marijuana became illegal under FDR?

  • Jeff

    Clearly shows that liberals don’t educate themselves on real issues. Conservatives voted in Amendment 64, and I’m one of them!

  • Fiberton

    I am quite the conservative guy and would vote in the legal sale of Pot in a second. Although I am not a Pot smoker I do believe we could increase our state income and lower our cost to incarcerate. Win Win for our little paradise in the south. Also will put drug kingpins out of business. What I have been told is because Pot has been legalized in Colorado all other types of drugs consumption has been severely lowered since it is so much easier to just legally smoke Pot. I can see how the large drug cartels will lose lots of money. This is very good for all of us. Lower crime is a happier America.

  • chris

    I vote yes , new Orleans

  • Bob

    It’s sad that it’s going to fall short a couple votes just like the ones before it…

    • Nobody

      The main reason these things fall short on votes is because they make sure it is not entirely out there that the vote is happening. Usually people around Louisiana do not even know what bills are being passed until a day or two after. The people that don’t want these things passed make sure the information is not easily stumbled upon because they are aware most Louisiana residents do not Stay on sites that alert them about what is going on in their community.

  • Wolfgang

    Legalizing marijuana and hemp not only generates a substantial amount of tax revenue for the state, but also saves the state money by cutting back on incacerations. Not to mention the research proven and bvious medicinal benefits of cannabis

    It’s a win for everyone. There will always be people that abuse drugs; it’s simply an unavoidable fact. Grant it, I’d much rather potheads than pill heads.

  • WTF ?

    This one’ going to be a tough fight as alcohol is considered a food group in LA.

  • Eric

    I am a Type 1 diabetic who uses marijuana to help with different ailments that come along with having diabetes. I am also a third time offender for the possession of marijuana which means I am a second time felon. If you saw talked to or knew me, you would know that I am the farthest thing from a criminal. I am a productive respectable member of society and my community. Please I am begging that we continue to spread the word in our home state about the decriminalization or medicinal legalization of marijuana be brought to the forefront of our House and Senates agendas. My life has already been screwed by our ridiculously harsh pot laws, let us not continue to screw the lives of other Louisiana residents.