Decriminalization of cannabis takes effect in Louisiana

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The decriminalization of cannabis went into effect in Louisiana last Sunday. Democratic Governor John Bell Edwards signed the law in June, and he stressed that it was “not a decision. […] taken lightly, ”but acknowledged that criminalization has had significant consequences for families and taxpayers.

Under the new law, possession of up to 14 grams of cannabis is now punishable by a fine of $ 100, without threat of jail time. The governor opposed defining this policy as “decriminalization”, even though technically it is.

“When I saw two city council members from my hometown of Shreveport – a Tory and a Progressive – unite to decriminalize personal use marijuana possession, I knew it was time to push for this reform. at the state level, ”said Cédric Glover, sponsor of the bill. “The criminalization of marijuana possession is detrimental to the people of Louisiana in many ways, but it is especially so for black and brown communities, low income individuals and youth. My fervent hope is that this new law will finally bring some relief and a sense of freedom to these communities. “

The pressure group Louisiana Progress, who accompanied MP Glover to push through decriminalization, hopes lawmakers shouldn’t stop at simple decriminalization and pass broader legalization of cannabis in an upcoming session.

“The decriminalization of cannabis is an important victory for criminal justice reform in Louisiana, especially for traditionally marginalized communities that have been disproportionately criminalized under prohibition,” the group said. “But we must continue to fight to end cannabis prohibition. This could be hugely beneficial, including bringing dozens of new small businesses and hundreds, if not thousands, of new jobs to Louisiana. “

The legislation marks a notable expansion of the state’s limited medical cannabis program. As it is, patients can vaporize cannabis preparations using a “metered dose inhaler”, but cannot access the entire flower and smoking is prohibited.

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