Marijuana movement continues as several bills inch closer to governor’s desk

Published: May. 25, 2021 at 2:39 PM CDT|Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 8:11 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - There are still at least three bills that look to move the marijuana movement in Louisiana forward and one of them barely made it out of the Senate committee on Tuesday, May 25.

“It should not lead to jail time, and it should not make you a felon,” said Rep. Cedric Glover (D).

Unlike the bill that would decriminalize the sale, purchase and manufacturing of marijuana that was shot down on the House floor last week, Rep. Cedric Glover’s bill would only decriminalize the possession of small amounts for personal use.

“This is the one area, the one issue that I think we all can stand on, agree on and hopefully see some movement forward towards,” said Glover.

A simple possession of 14 grams or less would only land you with a $100 fine. And no matter how many times you were charged, you wouldn’t have to worry about being convicted as a felon or end up in jail.

“The current system of penalization undermines the overall criminal justice system and because it’s such an unpopular law people blatantly flout it,” said Peter Robin Brown with Louisiana Progress Action.

However, for those with previous possession charges, this bill wouldn’t clean those records. But Glover says perhaps something can be done about that down the road.

“Obviously if we’ve gotten to a point where we can agree that this is an issue that should no longer send you to jail or make you a felon then there’s some other common ground to be found as well,” said Glover.

Cities like Shreveport, Baton Rouge and New Orleans already have ordinances that make possession a misdemeanor. But right now, police have the option to either use the ordinance or the current state law. Glover’s bill would bring those together.

The other decriminalization bill received a lot of pushback from the sheriff’s association. But according to Glover, for his bill, they don’t have a knife in the fight.

“The sheriffs are not against this, neither are the DA’s they’re not for it but they’re not taking a position against it either,” said Glover.

As far as the other bills, you have Rep. Candace Newell’s decriminalization bill like the one that got shot down last week that is currently waiting to be heard on the House floor. But you also have Rep. Tanner Magee’s bill that would expand the medical marijuana program that’s waiting to be heard on the Senate floor where Glover’s bill ended up landing on Tuesday.

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