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Louisiana Bill To Decriminalize Marijuana Killed by GOP

Republican lawmakers would not provide an explanation on why they voted against the bill




A bill to decriminalize marijuana in Louisiana died in committee Tuesday before ever reaching the House floor for debate this legislative session, according to a story by the Associated Press.

The House Criminal Justice Committee voted 9-4 along party lines to involuntarily defer the bill — effectively killing the legislation. GOP lawmakers would not provide an explanation during the meeting on why they voted against the bill.

Democratic state Rep. Candace Newell called the action by the committee “disrespectful,” saying that typically a lawmaker is given the “courtesy” of voluntarily deferring their own bill.

“I was not naive enough to think that the bill would make it out of (committee) … but I was expecting a little bit more of an educated conversation to happen,” Newell told the AP.

Newell says that her bill to decriminalize the possession and distribution of marijuana would provide opportunity for economic gains in the state. According to the AP, The legislation would have been contingent upon the Legislature “providing for a statutory regulatory system for the legal sale and distribution of marijuana” and establishing a sales tax.

“We should not still be criminalizing people when in other states their economy is flourishing,” Newell said.


Twenty-two states have already legalized recreational marijuana, with the latest being Delaware.

Louisiana legalized medical marijuana in 2015 and expanded in 2020, with the program allowing medical marijuana use with a doctor’s written recommendation for any debilitating condition.

In 2021 Governor John Bel Edwards decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana statewide. Under that bill, possession of less than 14 grams of cannabis is punishable by a $100 fine and no threat of jail time for the first and every subsequent offense. However, possession of more than 14 grams and illegal distribution still carry tough penalties



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